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Full text of "73 Magazine (March 2001)"

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BUCKMASTER PUBLISHING 4 

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THE TEAM 

El Supremo & Founder 

Wayne Green W2NSD/1 

Associate Publisher 
F. L Marion 

Executive Editor 

Jack Burnett 

Managing Editor 
Joyce Sawtelle 

Technical Editor 

Larry Antonuk WB9RRT 

Contributing Culprits 

MikeBryceWBQVGE 
Jim Gray fl 
Jack Hefler KB7NO 
Chiick Houghton WB6IGP 
Andy MacAlllster W5ACM' 
Joe Moell K0OV 
Steve NowakKE8YN/5 
Dr. Rick Glsen N6NR 

Advertising Sales 

Evelyn Garrison WS7A 
21704 S.E, 35th St. 
Issaquah WA 98029 
425-557-9611 
Fax:425-557-9612 

Circulation 

Frances Hyvarinen 

Data Entry & Other Stuff 
Norman Marion 



MARCH 2001 
ISSUE #484 



Reprints: £3 per article 

Back issues: $5 each 

Printed in the USA 






Manuscripts: Contributions for 
possible publication are most 
welcome. We'll do the best we can to 
return anything you request, but we 
assume no responsibility for loss 
or damage. Payment for submitted 
articles will be made after publication. 
Please submit both a disk and a 
hard copy of your article [IBM (ok) 
or Mac (preferred) formats], carefully 
checked drawings and schematics, 
and the clearest best focused and 
lighted photos you can manage. 'How 
to write for 73" guidelines are available 
on request. US citizens, please 
include your Social Security number 
with submitted manuscripts so we can 
submit it to you know who, 



10 



19 



23 



26 



28 



31 



Business Office 

Editoriai - Advertising - Circulation 34 

Feedback - Product Reviews 

73 Amateur Radio Today Magazine 

70 Hancock Rd. 

Peterborough NH 03458-1107 

603-924-0058 

Fax:603-924-8613 



53 



56 



THE NEW! 




Amateur 
Radio Today 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



FEATURES 



Way Cool Rocket Project: Pari 2 — N4XVF 

This 70crn rocketborne radio telemetry system is strict iy 

for kids — NOV. 



1 8 Build Yourself an NVfS — VE2EQL 

if you want to taik to the guy in the next county on HE 
of course. 



Inside Digital TV/VCR Tuners — W6WTU 

Part 7: Conclusion. 

Build This Variable AC Bench Supply — K8IHQ 

If you can find a Variac transformer, that is. 

$5 Infrared Remote Tester — WA9PYH 

Build this and look like a hero. 

QRP Drives Ham Nuts — NY9D 

Buys "critical mass" of parts and then goes on bizarre 

building spree. 

Bookbind THIS! — Part 1 — W6WTU 

Get organized, and save money too. 

Guessiess Beam Pointing — W9PJF 

This has been around for years, but for you newcomers 

The History of Ham Radio — W9Cf 
Part 4: The early 1920s. 

Read All About It! — K8JWR 

Part 5 of good stuff from The Hertzian Heraid. 



DEPARTMENTS 

49 Ad Index 

64 Barter n ! Buy 

37 Calendar Events 

50 The Digital Port — KB7NO 
46 Hamsats — W5ACM 

39 Homing In — K0OV 

4 Never Say Die — W2NSD/1 

48 New Products 

38 On the Go — KE8YN/4 
60 Propagation — Gray 
43 QRP 

1 QRX 

63 Radio Bookshop 



E-Mail 

design73@aoLcom 



Web Page 

www.waynegreen.com 



QRX 



ARISS 



There's a bright new star in the sky. The Interna- 
tional Space Station is up and running, and so is the 
ARfSS amateur radio station on board. 

While solar wings were being deployed and 
brought on line to provide power to the station, the 
international team that set up ARISS met at NASA's 
Goddard Space Flight Center to pin down rules and 



regulations and set up the plans for operating the 
station now and into the future. 

Delegates from the United States and Russia 
were joined by their counterparts representing a con- 
sortium of European nations, Canada, and Japan. 
They elected Frank Bauer KA3HD0 to chair the Ad- 
ministrative Group for the next two years. That's the 

Continued on page 6 



73 Amateur Radio Today (ISSN 1052-2522) is published monthly by 73 Magazine, 70 Hancock Rd., 

Peterborough NH 03458-1107. The entire contents ©2001 by 73 Magazine. No part of this publication may be 
reproduced without written permission of the publisher, which is not all that difficult to get. The subscription 
rate is: one year $24.97, two years $44.97; Canada: one year $34.21, two years $57.75, including postage and 
7% GST. Foreign postage: $19 surface, $42 airmail additional per year, payable in US funds on a US bank. 
Second class postage is paid at Peterborough, NH, and at additional mailing offices. Canadian second class 
mail registration #178101. Canadian GST registration #125393314. Microfilm edition: University Microfilm, Ann 
Arbor Ml 48106. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 73 Amateur Radio Today, 70 Hancock Rd., 
Peterborough NH 034 58-1107. 73 Amateur Radio Today is owned by Shabromat Way Ltd. of Hancock NH. 




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Number 1 on pour Feedback card 



Neuer srv die 



Wayne Green W2NSD/1 

w2nsd@aolcom 
www.waynegreen.com 



Dayton 2001 

In cleaning out my files for 
ihe new century, I ran across 
a four-year-old letter from a 
Dayton Hamvention assistant 
chairman asking for sugges- 
lions. Of course I offered a 
bunch. Far T s I know, none of 
* cm were ever implemented. 

For instance. I suggested 
they do a survey of their at- 
tendees to find out what they 
enjoyed the most and liked 
the least about the Hamven- 
tion — just as manufacturers 
survey customers on their 
products. Did they attend any 
talks? How r would they rate 
them? What did the\ buy? 
About how much did they 
spend? A survey of the ex- 
hibitors would ask what they 
liked best and what least, 
and how the Hamvention 
might be made better for 
them. How did they do? The 
flea market exhibitors should 
also be surveyed. 

These surveys would enable 
the convention committee to 
improve the product, plus give 
em added ammunition to 
convince niorc companies to 
exhibit, 

I suggested that the Ham- 
vention could be used as a 
sales pilch for the hobby — 
promoting their show in the 
local newspapers, TV, and ra- 
dio shows, aimed at young- 
sters, and encouraging local 
ham groups to set up displays 
which would demonstrate our 
various special interests such 
as repealers. DXing, slow- 
scan, packet, hamsats, and so 
on. We've got a ton of excite- 
ment and adventure to sell, 
but we've been keeping it a 
secret. 

How about several tethered 
balloon rides so attendees 
could lake pictures from two 
or three hundred feet up? 



Most of the ham superstars 
have died recently — Barry 
Goldwater, Jean Shepherd, 
King Hussein — but how 
about getting Art Bell 10 give 
a talk? How about Walter 
Cronkite? 

Something needs to be 
done by committees to make 
their hamfests more exciting 
so they'll be better attended, 
PR takes work but, unlike ad- 
vertising, it's free. Where 
I've been asked to give 
ham (est talks I've offered to 
get there a couple of days 
early and help with radio and 
TV talk shows. Having been 
a radio DJ and a TV produeer- 
direetor. I have no problem 
with these media You can get 
a free sample by listening to 
archive recordings of my 
guest appearances on the 
Coast To Coast AM radio 
show via Iwww.coasltocoast 
am. com J and Real Audio. 

Hamfests and ham conven- 
tions have to be kept in tune 
with the times, like any 
other product or service. 
Alas, in my experience, ham- 
fests have changed little in 

v. 

the last 60 years. 
Transfusions 

Doctors are doing millions 
of blood transfusions every 
year, and I'll bet you're com- 
pletely convinced that this is 
a good, lifesaving procedure. 
My advice? Do everything 
you can to avoid one! 

I used to work in an office 
on 43rd Street in Manhattan. 
On the floor below our pub- 
lishing offices was a blood 
bank, so I got a good kx>k at 
their clientele over the five 
years I worked there — and it 
was mostly homeless winos, 
getting enough money for an- 
other bottle of the cheapest 
wine they could find. 




As Fve mentioned, every 
cell in your body, and that in* 
eludes every cell in your 
blood, is in constant contact 
with every other cell, even 
when separated from you by 
thousands of miles. When 
you gel a transfusion of some- 
one else's blood, you're get- 
ting a part of them integrated 
into your mind/body system, 
and not just your body. You'll 
also get a good collection of 
any poisons they were carry- 
ing around, such as alcohol, 
nicotine, caffeine, and an\ 
other drugs, viruses, microbes, 
parasites, fungi, or yeasts in 
their blood. And maybe some 
toxic metals, loo. 

If you think I'm exagger- 
ating, you haven't bothered 
to read The Secret Life of 
Your Cells yet. Fve reviewed 
it in my editorial, and in my 
Secret Guide to Wisdom. 

Even though the new blood 
is the same type as yours, it is 
from another person and your 
immune system will get busy 
eliminating the invader. That's 
just what >ou need at a time 
when you need all of the 
strength your immune system 
can muster to help you re- 
cover from whatever caused 
the doctors to give you the 
transfusion. 

If you have made any effort 
to develop your psychic abil- 
ity, once you've had a trans- 
fusion you* II be able to pick 
up many of the thoughts and 
feelings of the person from 
whom you've received the 
blood. One woman wrote a 
book about an organ transplant 
where she was able to sense 
the name of the donor and 
feel his feelings. And thou- 
sands of people have reported 






weird things resulting from 
blood transfusions. A recent 

lab test with cells from an 
athlete's heart beat exactly in 
pace with his heart as he 

walked and ran. even though 
he was miles away. 

School Report 

In Virginia, reformers* in an 
effort to improve their schools, 
required that at least 70% of 
the students pass the state ex- 
ams or a school would lose 
its accreditation. When only 
19c passed the exams, the re- 
quirement was quietly thrown 
out. 

In Arizona, its requirements 
were withdrawn when only 
10% of high school sopho- 
mores passed a new math 
exam. And Wisconsin had to 
cancel a test students were 
supposed to pass he lore they 
could graduate. 

Our public schools are 
getting worse and worser. 

The education establish- 
ment is being run by educa- 
tors who don't know how to 
educate, and teachers who 
don't know how or what to 
teach. As long as school- 
teachers and administrators 
are coming from the bottom 
20% of high school students, 
have union-guaranteed ten- 
ure, and pay that has no con- 
nection to their performance, 
nothing is going to change — 
other than our kids are soins 
to continue m get poorer and 
poorer educations. 

This is a cancer which is 
slowly making America less 
and less competitive in a world 
where lowering communications 

Continued on page 8 



4 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



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continued from page I 

group that runs ARISS, Frank will be joined by 
Gaston Bertels ON4WF as Vice Chair and 
Rosalie White K1STO as Secretary-Treasurer. 
Those names should sound familiar, Frank is a 
Vice President of AMSAT and Rosalie is an ex- 
ecutive at the ARRL: both were key players in 
SAREX 1 the Space Amateur Radio Experiment 
that led to the formation of ARISS. 

In final approved form r the ARISS station will 
continue on the air with the present equipment 
and antenna in the FGB section of ISS Alpha, 
The crew currently is using voice on 2 meters. 
They plan to fire up packet operation in the next 
week or so. 

Frequencies for public contacts are 145,800 
packet and voice downlink and 145990 packet 
uplink, Other uplinks can be found in the ARISS 
Web page. Call letters are NA1 SS and RZ3DZR. 
The Russians are trying to change the latter to 
RS01SS. 

Russia's Chief Delegate, Sergej Samburov 
RV3DR, was given approval to send up another 
station next spring, using upgraded MIR hard- 
ware to be installed in the Service Module. Stow 
Scan TV, being developed in the U.S. by a team 
led by Miles Mann WF1F, with hardware support 
from Lou McFadin W5DID, also should be activated 
at that time. 

Future plans involving the Habitation Module 
and a remote station in an Express Pallet on the 
outside of the ISS were channeled to member 
nations for processing and evolution. 

There was much discussion of school contacts 
and third-party traffic. It was agreed that this is 
one of the most important aspects of ARISS. The 
first school contact was to be set up as soon as 
possible. ARISS hopes that the astronauts'/cos™ 
monauts 1 busy schedule may accommodate a 
school contact a week, once the station settles 
into routine operation. 

The delegates even agreed on a QSL card. 
it's a beauty, complete with a cover picture of 
the International Space Station, the permanent 
home in space for amateur radio. 

Thanks to Roy Neai K6DUE, via Newsline, Bill 
Pasternak WA6ITF, editor* 



Eye in the Sky: 
Your QTH from Space 

Ever wonder what your home QTH would look 
like if you were trying to view it from Earth orbit? 
Well, now you can find out without ever leaving 
your hamshack, if it has a connection to the 
Internet, 

All you have to do is take your Web browser 
over to [www.globexplorer.com], Globexplorer is 
one word. Then click in the word explore and 
enter your complete address in the area provided, 
Click the go button, and in less than a minute 
you will be looking at your neighborhood from 

6 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



space, And if you are not satisfied with what you 
see, you can zoom In or slew the picture in just 
about any direction, And some of the photos are 
so good that large antenna systems are visible. 
Thanks to Jim Damron N8TMW, via Newsline, 
Bill Pasternak WA61TF, editor. 



FAR Scholarships 

The Foundation for Amateur Radio, Inc., a 
nonprofit organization with headquarters in 
Washington, DC, pfans to administer 67 schol- 
arships for the academic year 2001-2002 to as- 
sist licensed radio amateurs. The Foundation, 
composed of over 75 local area amateur radio 
clubSi fully funds 10 of these scholarships with the 
income from grants and its annual hamfest. The 
remaining 57 are administered by the Foundation 
without cost to the various donors. 

Licensed radio amateurs may compete for 
these awards if they plan to pursue a full-time 
course of studies beyond high school and are 
enrolled in or have been accepted for enrollment 
at an accredited university, college, or technical 
schooL The awards range from $500 to $2,500 
with preference given in some cases to residents 
of specified geographical areas or the pursuit of 
certain study programs. Clubs, especially those 
in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsyl- 
vania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, are en- 
couraged to announce these opportunities at 
their meetings, in their club newsletters, during 
training classes, on their nets, and on their World 
Wide Web home pages, 

Additional information and an application 
form may be requested by letter or QSL card, 
postmarked prior to April 30, 2001, from FAR Schol- 
arships, P.O. Box 831 , Riverdale MO 20738. 

The Foundation for Amateur Radio, incorpo- 
rated in the District of Columbia, is an exempt 
organization under Section 501(C)(3) of the In- 
ternal Revenue Code of 1954. It is devoted ex- 
clusively to promoting the interests of amateur 
radio and those scientific, literary, and educa- 
tional pursuits that advance the purposes of the 
Amateur Radio Service. 

Thanks to FAR for this news item as well as 
all their efforts. 



The Many Lives of Iridium 

Motorola's seemingly doomed constellation of 
Iridium low Earth orbiting telecommunications 
satellites has gotten a new lease on life. This, as 
the U.S. Department of Defense signs a two year 
72 million dollar contract with the newly formed 
Indium Satellite LLC to keep the satellites in or- 
bit and functional. 

Under the agreement, Iridium Satellite has 
contracted with Boeing to take over operation of 
the 66-satellite cluster from Motorola. Iridium 
Satellite LLC will then market their services to 



commercial users as well as to the LIS, military 
and other government users. The State Depart- 
ment already owns 2,000 Indium handsets for 
use in remote spots on humanitarian missions. 
Thanks to Newsline, 6/// Pasternak WA6ITF, 
editor. 



Ham-Palm 



Thanks to Jeff Davis W9AVG, you can now 
catch up on the latest ham radio news over your 
PalmPilot. All you need do is visit [www. 
callingcq,org] and subscribe to the new AvantGO 
channel titled "CALLING CQ." Then, each time 
you sync your Palm OS or Win CE device, you'll 
receive the most comprehensive news and in- 
formation available for amateur radio enthusfasts. 

Thanks to N9AVG, via Newsline, Bill 
Pasternak WA6ITF editor. 



DARA Scholarships 

The Dayton Amateur Radio Association is now 
accepting requests for their annual scholarships. 
These scholarships are awarded in varying 
amounts up to $2,000. An applicant for a DARA 
scholarship must be a graduating high school 
senior in 2001 and must also hold a valid United 
States-issued FCC amateur license. To find out 
more or obtain an application, please send a self- 
addressed stamped envelope to DARA Scholar- 
ships, 45 Cinnamon Court, Springboro OH 
45066. Completed applications must be post- 
marked no later than June 1st, 2001. 

Thanks to DARA, via Newsline, Bill Pasternak 
WA61TF, editor. 



CQ de C02KK 



On the international scene, famed Cuban VHP 
DXer and CQ Magazine writer Arnie Coro 
C02KK continues to host a radio program called 
CQ DX Unlimited, Arnie's show is broadcast in 
English over Radio Havana Cuba and is aimed 
mainly at shortwave listeners and beginners in 
amateur radio. CQ DX Unlimited is broadcast on 
Tuesdays at 2115 to 2130 UTC on 13750 MHz 
AM and on 13,660 MHz SSB. Be sure to listen in. 

Thanks to G4NJH, via Newsline, Bill Pasternak 
WA8ITF editor. 



Ham Radio History 
Remailer 



The Ham Radio History E-mail reflector was 
founded in September of 1 998 in an effort to re- 
search and preserve as much of ham radio's past 

Continued on page 61 






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Extends your mobile 
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Neuer shv die 

continued from page 6 

and transportation costs are 
moving hundreds of thou- 
sands of jobs to lower-wage 
countries, which provide far- 
heiter-educated workforces. 

The teachers' unions have 
rejected every effort to even 
test the teaching systems 
which have been producing 
amazing results in some ex- 
perimental schools, Hmni. 
whv does thai remind me of 
the medical establishment re- 
fusing to allow tests of thera- 
pies which have been shown 
to have great promise? 

But. hey, as long as you 
don't care what the schools 
are doing to your kids, nolh- 
ing is going to change. No, 
there will be change, but it 
will he, as in the past, change 
for the worse. 

Rome distracted its citizens 
with games while their civili- 
zation was crumbling. We're 
busy with ball games. TV talk 
shows, and the political rheto- 
ric of election campaigns. 
Let's gel more Christians and 
lions into the arenas. 

Maybe you read about the 
do/ens of New York City 

■m' 

teachers and principals who 
were found to be helping stu- 
dents to cheat on tests in or- 
der to make their schools 
look better? 

Yes, More Aspartame News 

One voun^ woman had been 
parah/ed from the waist down 
by a car accident- But as a 
regular drinker of "Diet 
Coke" or Pepsi with aspar- 
tame (NutraSweeo in it. she 
was soon paralyzed from the 
neck down. Then there was a 
young hoy who had become 
brain damaged by diet sodas 
containing aspartame. Not 
everyone becomes brain dam- 
aged or semi -para ly/ed to the 
extent that it's immediately 
and dramatically noticeable 
— we all have different sus- 
ceptibilities, different de- 
tox ing capabilities — but 
why knowingly put a proven 
poison in your body? We 
unknowingly put in enough 
as it is. The damage can well 
be cumulative and show up 
later. 



Boners 

Our politicians have pulled 
some incredible boners dur- 
ing the 20th century. Like 
what? Like rent control, for 
instance. This socialist dream 
has done more to ruin cities 
than poverty or drugs* It's de- 
stroyed much of the Bronx. 
Paris, and other cities around 
the world. The president of 
Vietnam said that low rents had 
done more damage to Hanoi 
than all of Lhe American 
bombing. 

Like price controls, which 
in every instance have re- 
sulted in prices skyrocketing, 
When manufacturers find their 
profits on a product are fall- 
ing, ihcy "improve" the prod- 
uct and bring it out at a higher 
price. 

Like prohibition, which 
brought us the Mafia and or- 
ganized crime, which is Hour- 
ishing just tine today, thank 
you. and in all sorts of busi- 
nesses, I found them a con- 
trolling force in newsstand 
distribution and making sure 
the bigger radio stations only 
played the music of the major 
labels. 

Then there's the so-called 
War on Poverty. What a joke. 
And the War on Drugs, which 
has built a new group of 
wealthy criminals, plus bil- 
lions for the bribery ol tens of 
thousands of police, attorneys, 
judges, and customs agents. 

fm open for your nomina- 
tions for other worst ideas of 
the 20th century. Gel your 
Word processor going and 
snail- or E-mail me al w2nsd 
@ aol.com, 

Buying Radios 

II you or a friend arc in lhe 
market for a shortwave re- 
ceiver, you want to make an 
educated buy, so you won't 
get hornswoggled There seems 
to be an unlimited supply of 
hornswomders, so you need 
to approach the situation not 
too in formation-challenged. 

1 don't know about you, but 
1 keep a radio which includes 
shortwave coverage at im 
bedside, so I can check out a 
couple of the more interesting 
shortwave stations, check the 
CHU time ticks, and see who 



Coast-To-Coasl AM has on 
for a guest. My instrument of 
choice for this is the Sonv 
ICF-SW1. ItS 3\5xl inches, 
weighs a half a pound, and 
covers BC-SW-FM — 150- 
30,000 kHz, 76-108 MHz. Of 
course, it goes with me on 
trips. 

So, when you're shopping 
the flea markets, the ham rag 
classifieds, or the WWW, yon 
need Fred Ostennan's N8EKU 
Buxing a Used Shortwave Re- 
ceiver book. It's $6 (+$2 s/h), 
78 pages, and gives a descrip- 
tion of 100 of the most popu- 
lar radios, complete with 
used prices. If \ou can't find 
the book at your local radio 
store, write Universal Radio, 
6830 Americana Pkwy, Rev* 
noldsburg OH 43068, You 
might even splurge another 
$2 for their 108-pagc catalog. 
It's a beaut. 

Prayer Works 

Yep. the\\e double-blind- 
proven it scientifically. Read 
Robert Miller's Miracles In 
The Making, Ariel Press, 289 
South Main Street #205. 
Alpharetta GA 3020L I28pp„ 
$10. I watched a video ol one 
of the experiments described 
in this book :ii a Subtle Ener- 
gies conference in Monterey 
(CA), That's where Olga 
WorralL the noted psychic, 
lowered the surface tension 
of a jar of water just by put- 
ling her hands near it. Then, 
she was shown repeating this 
from over a thousand miles 
away w hile the camera ran. 

This book is packed v\ iih 
the proof of prayer "s power. 
In one experiment with a 
large group of people with 
high blood pressure, psychics 
were able to pray for half of 

them and substantially lower 
their blood pressure. No one 
in the group knew which of 
them were being prayed for 
and which weren't, so it wasn't 
any placebo effect. 

I've reviewed several other 
books which prove that just 
wishing for something can 
make it happen, so this proof 
of the power of prayer isn't a 
big stretch. 

This takes me back to Neil 
Slade's book, where he ex- 
plains how simple it is to 



manipulate clouds with your 
mind. You don't have to pray 
to God. to Jesus, to Allah, or 
to Mohammed. And it works 
just as well for atheists as the 
devout of any commercial 
religion. 

My Books 

I hope you'll read my Se- 
cret Guide to Health and start 
changing your lifestyle so 
you'll be able to enjoy robust 
health. Then I hope that you'll 
do vour best to net the word 
to people you care ahouu so 
thev can rcnain their health, 
Mv editorials in "V are a tinv 
lever, but with your help we 
can make thousands, and then 
millions of people healthier 
and wealthier. This business 
of spending a lifetime work- 
ing at jobs — being a "worker" 
— is just one more way 
we've all been bamboozled 
Send an SASE for a catalog 
of mv publications to Wavne 
Green. Hancock NH 03449. 

We Wui Robbed 

Several of the books re- 
viewed in m\ Secret Guide to 
Wisdom have to do with how- 
bad our school system is, and 
how it got that way. In rny 
"spare time" (har-de-har)rvc 
been working on a book 
which has as its core my edi- 
torial essays on the subject, 
plus relevant material from 
my now-sold-out Declare War! 
hook. 

Our school system is both 
by far the most expensive in 
the world, and the worst, at 
least in the developed world. 
Our kids come in at the bottom 
on international tests, 

I've complained that one 
result of this dumhinn down 
process has been a lack of ge- 
niuses. I've noticed this par- 
ticularly in the music field. 
When I turn to a classical mu- 
sic station I know almost im- 
mediately who the composer 
is. even if Tin not familiar 
with the piece. Beethoven, 
Wagner Copland, and so on, 
all have their stamp on their 
music. It turns out that I'm 
not the only person to notice 
this phenomenon. 

Continued on page 62 



8 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 




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Way Cool Rocket Project: Part 2 

This 70cm rocketborne radio telemetry system is strictly for kids — NOT! 



Part one of this series described the construction of a 433 MHz telemetry transmitter 
and receiver. Part two will describe construction of a 433 MHz telemetry receiving 
antenna and integration of the telemetry transmitter into the rocket payload section. 
Let's begin with construction of the telemetry receive antenna. 



The telemetry receive antenna 
consists of two Astron Corpora- 
tion Model 400-4 yagi antenna 

kits cut for 433 MHz operation, 
stacked vertically, and fed in phase. 
The Astron Model 400-4 kit can he 
purchased directly from Astron Corpo- 
ration or from Ramsey Electronics as 
Ramsey #400-4, Specifications for the 
4-elcment yagi indicate a forward gain 
of 7 dB, with a half-power beamwidth 



of about 30 degrees. With two antennas 
stacked for vertical polarization and fed 
in phase, the forward gain becomes 
9.5 dB, with the vertical half power 
beamwidth reduced to about 15 de- 
grees. In addition, the vertical capture 
area of the unicnna is doubled. With 
only 80 milliwatts from the transmit- 
ter, we need all the gain and capture 
area that we can get to ensure solid 
copy of the telemetry signal Vertical 




Photo A, Completed antenna array in tracking mode. 
10 73 Amateur Radio Today ■ March 2001 



polarization of the receive antennas 
was selected to match the vertical po- 
larization of the rocket-mounted trans- 
mit antenna. Because the rocket is in 
motion, the receive antenna must be 
able to follow the flight path to ensure 
positive reception of telemetry data. 
To accomplish this I created a fully 
steerable alt-azimuth antenna mount. 
Photo A shows the completed antenna 
array in tracking mode. 

Building the antenna array begins 
with construction of the two 4-ele- 
ment yagi antennas. The Astron 
Model 400-4 is supplied as an un- 
drilled aluminum boom with four sets 
of aluminum element material. (The 
driven clement is prcassembled but not 
cut to length,) Element mounting hard- 
ware is also supplied. Each element 
must be cut for the operating fre- 
quency. A chart is supplied with the kit 
that gives element dimensions and ele- 
ment spacing for specific frequencies. 
In addition to drilling the boom for 
the antenna elements, the boom must 
also be drilled for the mounting hard- 
ware and for an antenna counter- 
weight. Fig. 1 is a drawing of the 
antenna dimensions that 1 used in 
building the yagis for 433 MHz. 




Fig. 1, Tracking antenna. 

The antenna counterweights are 6- 
inch lengths of 1/2-inch-cIiameter soft 
steel rod. The counterweights are in- 
stalled after the antennas are as- 
sembled and mounted. As a safety 
measure, these counterweight rods are 
wrapped with fluorescent red tape to 
prevent them being an eye hazard. 
Now that you have the two antennas 
assembled and drilled, set them aside 
and begin construction on the antenna 
mount. 



The antenna mount 

Three sub-assemblies are combined 

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These three subassemblies are the tri- 
pod legs, tripod head, and elevation 
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The tripod legs and tripod head are 
built first. Fig, 2 is a dimensioned 
drawing of the tripod parts. 

Cut six lengths of 1-1/2- x 3/4- inch 
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Fig, 2. Tracking antenna tripod parts* 







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73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 11 



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Fig, 5. Tracking antenna elevation bearing box parts. 



tripod leg is made up of two of these 
five-foot members. Using the dimen- 
sioned drawing as a guide, mark the 
locations of the 1/4-inch holes on each 
end of the lees. Drill 1/4-inch holes at 
the top and bottom ends of each tripod 
leg at the measured locations. Fasten 
the bottom two members of each leg 
together with a 1/4-inch x 3-inch bolt. 
Loosely fasten the nut on each of the 
three bolls. 

I elected to use l/8-ineh-thiek stan- 
dard hardboard as the material lor the 
top and bottom plates on the tripod 
head. This material is inexpensive and 



easily worked. You can find this mate- 
rial at most home improvement cen- 
ters. Once the lop and bottom plates 
are cut to shape, use the dimensioned 
drawing to mark locations for the 
screw holes. Using a drill and a 1/8- 
inch drill bit, drill the nine screw holes 
in the tripod top plate and the three 
screw holes in the tripod bottom plate. 
Use a countersink bit to slightly 
counter bore these screw holes. This 
will ensure that the flathead wood 
screws to he used later will rest Hal 
with the surface of the top and bottom 
plates. 




Photo fl- Elevation bearing ho.\\ rear view. 
12 73 Amateur Radio Today ■ March 2001 



The next step is to cut the tripod leg 
attachment brackets from 3/4-inch 
poplar stock. Use a drill and a 1/4-inch 
drill bit to drill the holes for the leg at- 
tachment bolls, as indicated on the 
plan. Next, place the tripod leg attach- 
ment brackets in line with the screw r 
holes in the lop plate. Use an ice pick 
or small nail to mark the screw hole lo- 
cations on the leg brackets. Use a drill 
and a 1/ 1 6-inch bit to drill screw pilot 
holes in the leg brackets. Fasten the leg 
brackets to the tripod top plate with 
wood glue and flathead wood screws. 

Turn the tripod over, center the bot- 
tom plate, and line up the screw holes 
with the leg brackets. Mark the screw 
hole locations on the leg brackets and 
drill the 1/1 6- inch screw pilot holes. 
Use wood glue and flathead wood 
screws to fasten the bottom plate to the 
tripod leg brackets. Set this assembly 
aside to dry. 

The elevation bearing box is the next 
component of the antenna mount. Fig. 
3 is a dimensioned drawing of the parts 
for the elevation bearing box. 

Start b\ cutting all the pieces for the 
bearing box. Make sure to make two of 
the side plates. I used 3/4-inch poplar 
for the bearing box, although the type 
of material is not critical. Mark and 
drill the holes in the side plates using 
information from the plans. Fasten the 
bearing box side plates to the bottom 
plate with wood screws and wood 
glue. Slide the elevation bearing box 
back support in place and secure with 
wood glue. Photo B shows the back- 
side of the elevation bearing box. and 
the relationship between all the parts. 

The receiver shelf and shelf bracket 
are fastened to the back of the eleva- 
tion bearing box with epoxy. Cut a 
length of 1-1 /4-inch -diameter hard- 
wood dowel to 28 inches. This will be- 
come the elevation axle. The azimuth 
bearing is a Shepherd Hardware Prod* 
ucts Model 9548 ball bearing lazy Su- 
san. Fasten the lazy Susan to the 
bottom of the elevation bearing box 
with small flathead wood screws. Posi- 
tion the elevation bearing box in the 
center of the tripod top plate. Rotate 
the box so that the mounting holes for 
the lazy Susan are visible. Mark posi- 
tion of the lazy Susan mounting holes 



A 



V i 








4 






l«u 






MAT£kM& : 



/fax i PVC 



Fig. 4. Elevation hearing detail. 

on the tripod top plate. You will find 
that one of the four lazy Susan mount- 
ing holes will line up with the position 
of a tripod leg bracket A flathead 
wood screw should be used at this po- 
sition. The remaining three mounting 
holes will use 6-32 x 1-inch machine 
screws and nuts. 

Modified 1-1/4- x 1-inch PVC re- 
ducer adapters are used as bearings for 
the elevation axle. Fig. 4 is a drawing 
showing the modifications of the PVC 
adapters. You will need to make four of 
the modified adapters. 

As shown in Fig. 4, the shank of 
each PVC adapter is cut down to a 
length of 1/2-inch. Make sure to re- 
move any burrs with a small knife, The 
outside diameter of the PVC adapter is 
a little less than the 1-3/4-inch-diam- 
eter hole. Take two of the cut-down 
adapters and wrap masking tape 
around the outside surface of the 1/2- 
inch-long shank until it just fits into 
the 1-3/4-inch -diameter hole in the el- 
evation bearing box side plate. Coat 
the inside surface of the 1 -3/4-inch-di- 
ameter hole and the outside surface of 
the tape on the adapter with 5 -minute 
epoxy and fit in place. Use care to not 
get any of the epoxy on the inside sur- 
face of the adapter. After the epoxy has 
set, slide the elevation axle into the 
PVC adapter bearings and center it 
with respect to the elevation bearing 
box. Slide one of the remaining pre- 
pared PVC adapters over one end of 



the elevation axle and bring up tight to 
the mounted bearing. Refer to Photo B 
to see this relationship between the 
bearing surfaces. While holding the 
prepared PVC adapter in place, use a 
drill and a 3/16-inch drill bit and drill 
through the PVC adapter and the axle. 
Slide a 5/32 x 2-1/2-inch cotter pin 
into the hole to hold ihe bearing in 
place. Repeat this procedure on the 
other end of the elevation axle. At this 
point, attach the leg assemblies to the 
leg brackets with 4-inch x 1/4-inch 
carriage bolts and nuts. Spread the tri- 
pod legs out so that the elevation bear- 
ing box is at a comfortable working 
height. The next step is to mount the 
antennas to the elevation axle. 

Mounting the antennas 

Radio Shack #15-826 U-bolt and 
clamp assemblies are used to mount 
the prepared antennas to the elevation 
axle. Photo C shows how the antenna 
is mounted to the elevation axle. 

Make sure the driven element is di- 
rected outward (as shown in the photo- 
graph) and that the element is aligned 
with the end of the elevation axle. This 
will ensure proper spacing of the two 
antennas. Next, move the antennas so 
the booms are horizontal and insert the 
previously prepared lengths of steel 
rod into the rear open end of the boom. 
Adjust position of the steel rods until 
the antennas are balanced on the eleva- 
tion axle. Mark this position on the 



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73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 13 




Photo C Antenna mourned to elevation axle, 

steel rod through the hole in the end of 
the antenna boom. Use a drill and 1/4- 
inch drill bit to drill a mounting hole 
through each of the steel rods at the 
marked locations. Install the steel rods 
into the rear end of the antenna booms 
with a 1/4-inch x 2-inch bolt and wing 



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14 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



nut. The remaining step in antenna con- 
struction is fabrication of the coaxial 
cable phasing harness. 

Building the phasing harness 

Fig, 5 is a dimensioned drawing of 
the coaxial phasing harness. 

The harness uses two sections of 
RG-6 75-ohm coax, each leg 37 
inches in length. The first step, how- 
ever is to attach a connector to the 
short length of coax from the an- 
tenna driven element. Cut this length 
of coax to 6 inches and attach a male 
coaxial connector A coaxial barrel 
connector is used to join the phasing 
harness to each of the driven element 
connectors. 

The photographs in this article 
show the details of mounting the 
phasing harness. This completes 
construction of the telemetry receive 
antenna array. 



Integration of the telemetry 
transmitter into the rocket 
payload section 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The rocket 
kit described in this project is NOT 
designed for those who are beginners 
to rocketry. If you are new to this 
discipline, I recommend that you 
contact the National Association of 
Rocketry or the Tripoli Rocketry As- 
sociation (addresses at the end of 
this article) for the location of a 
rocketry club close to your area. 
Members of these organizations are 
eager to offer help to those new to 
rocketry. 

The rocket airframe used in this 
project is the Vaughn Brothers Extreme 
38 rocket kit. Construction of the 
rocket airframe is outside of the scope 
of this article. The kit should be built 
according to the instructions supplied 
with the kit with the exceptions de- 
tailed below. Fig, 6 is a dimensioned 
drawing highlighting the modifica- 
tions made to the payload section of 
the rocket kit. 

The first modification to be made is 
to the nose cone. As detailed in Fig, 6, 
the rear portion of the nose cone is re- 
moved and discarded. With a 1/16- 
inch drill bit, drill two small holes 1/ 
2-inch from the shoulder of the nose 
cone. This is the point at which the 
thermistor will be mounted. Insert the 
thermistor leads into the two small 
holes in the nose cone. Ensure a 1/32- 
inch air gap between the bottom of the 
thermistor and the nose cone surface. 
Place a small dab of epoxy over the 
thermistor leads on the inside of the 
nose cone to fix the thermistor in 
place. 



HEtt 



3C 




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5l 



3S 



57'— *> 



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JJ^ 



37' 



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Fig. 5, Phasing harness. 



Use the drawing in Fig- 6 as a guide, 
and cut the thermistor shroud from a 
small sheet of ,lX)5-inch brass. Prepare 
three one-inch lengths of tinned number 
22 solid copper wire. Solder these three 
wires to the brass shroud as shown in 
Fig, 6. Temporarily bend these wires out 
from the shroud and form the shroud 
over the thermistor Make sure that the 
brass shroud will not touch the ther- 
mistor. Mark the three locations where 
the bent out wires touch the nose cone 
surface. Use a I/32-ineh drill bit to 
drill holes at the marked locations on 
the nose cone. Bend the shroud wires 
so they are pointing down and away 
from the shroud. Insert the shroud 
wires into the three holes. Bend the 
wires down from the inside of the nose 
cone to hold the shroud in place. Fix 
each shroud wire in place with a 
small dab of epoxy over each wire. 
Lay in an epoxy fillet at the shroud 
nose cone boundary. The shroud is 
used both to shield the thermistor 
from the sun and to protect it from 
flight-generated aerodynamic forces. 



bam jtecxef JOT 






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(-«*■-) 



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Fig. 6. Rocket assembly. 

Prepare two lengths of stranded 
hookup wire, each 3 inches in length. 
Twist the two wires together. Solder a 
2-pin Dean's connector to one end of 
the prepared two wires. Solder the free 



end of the wires to the thermistor leads 
inside the nose cone. 

The Vaughn Brothers rocket kit is 
supplied with a mounting bracket and 
plate for an altimeter circuit. You will 





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73 Amatour Radio Today * March 2001 15 




Photo D. Payload section, with arming jack in place. 




Photo E. Transmit antenna installed on the payload section. 



not use ihc metal plate. Two circular 

foam blocks arc supplied in the kit. Use 
a razor saw and cut one of the loam 
blocks in half. Modify the remaining 
foam block as shown in Fig. 6. 

Build the payload section as detailed 
in the rocket kit instructions. When all 
the epoxy adhesive has fully set, push 
the one-hall* foam block vou cut earlier 
to the bottom of the payload section. 
Measure 2-1/4 inches from the front 
edge of the payload section and mark 
the position of the mounting hole for 
the arming jack. Use the sharp point of 
a modeling knife to cut a 3/16-inch-di- 
ameter hole at the point marked for the 
arming jack. To make installation of 
the transmitter easier 1 placed a two- 
conductor connector in series with the 
wires from the arming jack to the 
transmitter battery. Photo D shou s the 
payload section with the arming jack 
in place. 

Measure 1-1/4-inch from ihc front 
of the payload section al a point 200 



decrees clockwise from the arming 

jack and mark for the antenna. Drill a 
1/32-inch hole at this point. Prepare a 
two-inch length of stranded hookup 
wire by stripping 1/4-inch from each end 
and tinning the wire with solder Next, 
cut a 6-3/4-inch length of 1/1 6- inch 
music wire. Use line sandpaper and 
burnish 2 inches of one end of the mu- 
sic wire. Measure 3/8- inch from the 
burnished end of the wire. Use pliers 
to put a 40-dcgree bend in the wire at 
this point. Push the prepared music 
wire into the antenna hole in the pay- 
load section so that vou have access to 

pi 

the short bent section of wire. Solder 

one end of the two-inch wire you pre- 
pared earlier to the bent section of 
music wire. 

Push the music wire back through 
the antenna mounting hole so the 6-3/ 
8-inch length lies alongside the pay- 
load section. Use a short length of 
masking tape to hold the antenna in 
place while you lay in epoxy fillets on 



each side of the wire to hold it in place. 
You may find it helpful to tack the an- 
te una to the payload section with cy- 
anoacrylate adhesive before using the 
epoxy. Photo E shows the transmit an- 
tenna installed on the payload section. 

Solder a 2-pin Deans connector to 
the free end of the 2-inch antenna wire. 
The next step is to install the transmitter 
circuit board into the payload section. 

Insert the transmitter circuit board, 
battery end first into the payload sec- 
lion. Use care to position the circuit 
board to clear the arming jack as you 
slide the circuit board into position. 
Slide the prepared forward foam block 
in lo place. The 5/ 16- inch slot in the 
foam block should just clear the arm- 
ing jack. Dress the remaining wires 
from the transmitter circuit board 
through the 1/8-inch slot in the loam 
block. I u^ed an additional piece of 
foam rubber as a forward block inside 
the nose cone. This ensures that, once 
the nose cone is fastened in place, the 




Photo E Antenna, thermistor, am! arming jack connectors. 
16 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 




Photo G, Completed airframe in primer coal white. 



Qty. 


Part 


2 


Astron 400-4 or Ramsey Electronics 400- 
4 yagi antenna kits 


6 


5 ft lengths at 1-1/2x3/4 inch clear pine 
lumber 


1 


3 ft. x 3 ft. square piece of 1/8 inch 
standard hardboard 


t 


4 ft. section 5-1/2 x 3/4 inch poplar 
lumber 


1 


3 ft. section 3x3/4 inch poplar lumber 


i 


30 inch length 1-1/4 Inch diam. hardwood 
dowel 


3 


3 inch x 1/4 inch carnage bolts with nuts 


3 


4 inch x 1/4 inch carnage bolts with nuts 


3 


B-32 machine screws with nuts 


10 


1-1/2 inch flathead wood screws 


2 


Radio Shack #15-826 U-bort damps 


1 


12 inch length 1/2 Inch diam soft steel 
rod 


4 


1-1/4 inch x 1 kich PVC reducer adapter 


\ 


B ft length Belden #9246 RG-6 75 ohm 
coaxial cable 


6 


UHF male coax cable connectors 


2 


UHF banei double female coax 
connectors 


1 


UHF coax tee connector 


1 


UHF double female coax connector 


1 


UHF male-to-BNC male coax adapter 



Table L Tracking antenna parts list. 

transmitter circuit board will not shift 
under flight G-forces. 

Connect the thermistor, antenna, and 
aiming jack connectors, and then fas- 
ten the nose cone in place with the 



Qty, 



Part 



- 1 



Vaughn Brothers Extreme 38 rocket kit 



8 inch length 1/16 inch music wire 



12 inch x 12 inch square section R/C 
packing foam rubber (available from 
hobby shops) 



2 inch x 2 inch square sheet 005 brass 
(available from hobby shops) 



6 inch length #22 tinned solid wire 



Dean's Ullra Plug 2-prn power connector 
(available from hobby shops} 



Dean"s standard 2-pin connector 
(avai table from hobby shops) 



Table 2. Airframe parts list. 



screws supplied in the rocket kit. Note: 
You may find it necessary to notch the 
bottom edge of the nose cone to clear 
the antenna wire on the inside of the 
pay toad section. I recommend placing 
an index mark on the junction between 
nose cone and pay load section so proper 
alignment can be achieved later. Photo 
F shows the antenna, thermistor, and 
arming jack connectors. 

Test the transmitter installation by 
turning on the receiver and then pull- 
ing the arming plug from the jack. If 
everything is working OK^ you should 
hear tone pulses from the receiver. Re- 
install the arming plug to turn off the 
transmitter. Photo G is a photograph 
of the completed airframe in primer 
coat white, The next article in this se- 
ries will describe calibration of the 
thermistor temperature sensor, finish- 
ing the sounding rocket airframe, flight 
operations, dula recovery, and imple- 
mentation of the project with schools 
and youth groups. 

ROCKET CONSTRUCTION NOTE: 
The rocket airframe has been built for 



launch from a tower, so no launch lugs 
have been installed. If you will be 
launching from a rod-type launcher, 
launch lugs will need to be installed on 
the airframe. 

Addresses 

Vaughn Brothers Rocketry, 4575 
Ross Drive, Paso Robles CA 93446; 
tel.: (805) 239-3818; fax: (805) 239- 
0292. 

Astron Corporation, 22560 Glenn 
Drive, Suite 114, Sterling VA 20164; 
teL: (703) 450-5517; fax: (703) 450- 
9753. 

National Association of Rocketry, 
1311 Edgewood Drive, Altoona WI 
54720; [www.nar.org]. 

Tripoli Rocketry Association, Inc., 
P.O. Box 280, Bessemer AL 35021- 
0280; teh: (205) 424-8357. 



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73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 17 



John Grow VE2EQL 
210 Vercheres 
Greenfield Park, Quebec 
Canada J4V 2B4 

ygrow@sympatico.ca] 



Build Yourself an NVIS 

If you want to talk to the guy in the next county? on HF, of course. 



We have all experimented with antennas. At one time or other we played with dipoles, 
verticals, quads, yagis, and variations of wire antennas. All for the desire of a low-angle 
signal, which will help us snag DX stations. There have been numerous articles and 
books on antennas, making us very familiar with the above antenna names. But have you 
ever heard of the Australian * District Antenna, * or the Russian " Zenith Radiation, " or 
what our military calls NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave)? 



This antenna has been around 
since World War II, The reason 
most hams have not heard 
about it is their desire to work faraway 
stations. When ii conies to local com- 
munications, VHF/UHF is more com- 
mon. But there are many cases where 
the range of VHF is limited, and reli- 
able communications are needed on 
HF 

In many population centers* there is 
the desire of many hams to communi- 
cate within a 100 to 300-mile radius. 



>EVV OF HV!S ANTENNA 

20 TO « FT 
EACH LB; 



10TO30FT HIGH 
TOP MEW 





ONE END Of THE CROSS 
CHPOLE TO CENfTEfl CONDUCTOR, 

THE OTHER SET TO GROUND 



SECTIONS OF 1 5' DlA PVC PIPE WITH 
COUPLERS TO MAKE PORTABLE MAST 
MAST LENGTH tO TO 3D FT MAST 
SHOWN IN A HORIZONTAL POSfTlON. 



Fig, L NVIS antenna details. 

18 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



In those cases, the known popular an- 
tennas might not provide a reliable link. 
Our military had the same problems, and 
they found that producing a high angle 
skywave provided a reliable link, less 
subject to fading. With a high angle, 
the surrounding terrain is not an issue. 

How to experiment with NVIS 

There are many ways an antenna can 
be made to work in an NVIS mode. 
The easiest is to run a wire fed with a 
tuner a few feet from the ground. In 
most cases, a high-angle skywave will 
be produced. Stations nearby will be 
able to communicate. 

Another approach is to take your HF 
mobile antenna and place it in a hori- 
zontal position parallel to the ground. 
You could experiment with the dis- 
tance between the ground and hori /cen- 
tal antenna. A distance of 3 to 9 feet 
will work. 

When experimenting with NVIS, 80, 
40, and 30 meters seem to work best. I 
tried frequencies between 3,5 and 30 
MHz. The factors of working frequen- 
cies below the MUF (Maximum Us- 
able Frequency) play a very important 
role. Power levels of QRP to 100 watts 
have been used. 






Building a simple NVIS antenna 

A very simple NVIS antenna can be 
built, for fixed or portable use. (Please 
refer to Fig. 1.) The basic NVIS an- 
tenna is nothing more than two crossed 
dipoles mounted anywhere from 10 to 
20 feet high. The legs of the dipole are 
sloped and secured to the ground, The 
crossed dipoles are fed with 50-ohm 
coax. A tuner, manual or automatic, is 
required. 

A fixed NVIS antenna can be a 
wooden pole, PVC pipe, or metal 
mast. The lengths of the wire elements 
can be anywhere from 20 to 40 feel. 
For a portable NVIS antenna, a mast 
could be made from 1.5"-diameter 
PVC tubing mating with PVC cou- 
plers. A piece of coax fed through the 
mast then feeds the crossfed dipoles. 

Please make sure that safety con- 
cerns are taken into consideration. 
You do not want anyone to run into 
the sloping wires, which will be a 
few feet off the ground, This type of 
antenna has been made commer- 
cially by Telex. It is called the NVIS 
Antenna, with a model number of 
AS-2259/1990. 

Continued on page 58 



Hugh Wells W6WTU 

1411 18th St. 

Manhattan Beach CA 90266-4025 



Inside Digital TV/VCR Tuners 



Part 7: Conclusion. 



The previous section described how the printed circuit boards for the data transmitter 
and receiver are prepared tor processing. This section will complete the process steps, 
beginning with marking the board. 



It is desirable to have sonic identifi- 
cation markings on the board indi- 
cating voltage values, polarity- IC 
pin and transistor lead identifiers, etc. 
Prior to etching, a sharp instrument 
like a scribe may be used to scratch 
through the fingernail polish, exposing 
the copper as shown in Photo A. The 
scratch marks in the form of letters and 
symbols will he etched into the copper 
as shown in Photo B. 

Many of the black ink etch-resist 
marking pens contain a water-repellent 
ink that is sometimes used for marking 
the bare copper prior to etching. Un- 
fortunately, the ink docs break down 



somewhat in the ctchani. so that it 
isn't always satisfactory for making 
a reliable etch-resist for trace pat- 
terns. After etching, the marking pen 
is more suitable for marking the com- 
ponent placement, orientation, polar- 
ity, etc information on the top side of 
the board, 

Etching the board 

Ferric chloride is the most common 
etchant available and perhaps, the easi- 
est and safest to use. The major cau- 
tion with it is that it is dark in color 
and will severely stain cloth, so care 



must be taken to prevent spills and 
splashes. 

The board will be ready to etch after 
the nail polish has dried — usually 30 
minutes to an hour is a proper waiting 
period. There are many methods suit- 
able for etching a hoard, but the one 
most suitable to your needs is the one 
that you should use. A simple and easy 
method is to pour the etchant to a 
depth of 1/8- 1/4-inch into a flat glass 
or plastic dish. Float the board copper 
side down on the surface of the 
etchant. It will be necessary to lift the 
board periodically after about 30 min- 
utes to assess the progress of etching 




Photo A. A scribe is being used to scratch through the nail polish 
for marking/identifying the board. 




Photo St* The board marking that remains after aching. 

73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 19 




Photo C The circuit hoard floating on the etchant. A stick is used 
to lift the hoard momentarily 10 purge bubbles. 



Photo D> A scribe is used to scratch unetched copper bridges 
before returning the board to the etch. 



as shown in Photo C. A stick or tongue 
depressor works well for lifting the 
board Also, lifting the board, then 
lowering it slowly, will allow the 
trapped bubbles to be purged. 

When the etching process appears to 
be complete, remove the board, wash 
it with tap water, and dry it with a pa- 
per towcL The board can now be in- 
spected for completion. Some areas, 
specifically where bubbles were 
trapped, will not etch very fast. Scrap- 
ing those areas with a knife blade or 
scribe to scratch the copper will allow 
the copper u> he etched a little faster, 
as shown in Photo D, Return the board 
to the etch and allow the etching pro- 
cess to continue. When wide trace pat- 
terns are used* overetching is usually 
not a problem. 

During a cold environment, the 
etc ham works very slowly. Adding a 
little heat to the process will speed it 
up considerably. Placing a small light 



hulb close to the etchant will warm 
the surrounding air Also, placing a 
*>mall cardboard box over the lamp 
and etchant tray will raise the tem- 
perature sufficiently to speed the 
etching process. 

An alternate method for etching 
boards is to use a zipper-style plus lie- 
bag as an etch container. After the 
board is placed into the bag, about one 
inch of etchant is poured into the bag. 
Because some bags have a tendency to 
leak, if s a good idea to slide the first 
bag containing the board into another 
bag for drip protection. 

After sealing the bagfsh the board is 
positioned Hat with the copper down. 
Because the bag is transparent, the 
etching process can be observed 
through the bag. Handling the board 
and bag with care is OK, but excess 
handling should be avoided to prevent 
accidental spills caused by bag tears. 



After etching 

Upon completion, the board must be 
washed with tap water to remove the 
etchant. If the board is to be a single- 
sided board* then the nail polish can be 
removed with lacquer thinner or ac- 
etone. A small amount of solvent on a 
paper tissue works well as a wiper. An 
etched board with nail polish is shown 
in Photo E. 

Following an inspection of the trace 
pattern for copper bridges and other 
possible minor defects, the board is 
ready for drilling (Photo F). Hole 
sizes are a personal choice, but drill 
sizes from #57 to #62 work well for 
most applications. 

Solder-coating the copper is an op- 
tional process, hut it does help reduce 
oxide development on the surface of 
the copper. The advantages of solder 
coating are better part solderahility 
and uniform appearance, in addition to 




Photo E. This is the etched board after being washed, but before 
the nail polish has been removed. 

20 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



• *^^^mJ^^S*£i 






~~ H 1 1 





Photo F* Drill si:*, s from #57 to #62 work welt for drilling the 
holes. 



the reduction in copper oxide forma- 
tion. The involved steps begin with 
cleaning ihe copper with fine steel 
wool followed with a solvent rinse. 
The objective is to remove all traces of 
nail polish, oxides, and oil. 

The procedure for solder coating the 
board is as follows: 

1) Coat the surface of the copper 
with a very thin coating of solder flux. 

2) Place a small drop of solder on 
the lip of a 25-30 watt soldering iron. 

3) Touch the solder io the copper and 
draw the iron along the copper. A sol- 
der trail will be left as the iron moves. 
Solder may be added as necessary to 
continue the process. 

4) Continue the solder coating pro- 
cess until all of the copper is coated. It 
will be necessary to move the iron rea- 
sonably fast across the copper to re- 
duce the possibility of burning the 
adhesive below the copper 

5) Clean the coated board with al- 
cohol, lacquer thinner, or acetone to 
remove the flux. 

Double-sided boards 

Making double-sided boards is a 
little more difficult than the process 
outlined above. However, the same 
steps are repeated except for drilling. 
Drilling is done from the bottom side 
(most complex trace pattern side) of 
the board. 

During the etching process, the side 
opposite the pattern being etched must 
be protected from etching. Coaling the 
'"protected" side with nail polish or 
with a couple of layers of plastic spray 
is sufficient. After the first side is 
etched, it is sprayed with plastic or the 
exposed areas of copper are coated 
with nail polish to prevent further 
etching of those areas. Care must be 
taken so that the "protected" side is not 
scratched during handling. Coating the 
"protected" side a few minutes before 
etching is best 

Preparing the second side of the 
board follows the same steps as the 
first, but orientation of the trace pat- 
tern is a little tricky. It is best to have 
the majority of holes drilled before the 
second side is started, as the holes are 

Continued on page 22 






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73 Amateur Radio Today ■ March 2001 21 




Photo G, The second side paper mask is positioned prior to being 
cemented. 




Photo H. The first half of the paper mask has been aligned and 
cemented, while the second half is being cemented. 



Inside Digital TV/VCR Tuners 

continued from page 21 

used as a guide for placing the paper 

mask. 

la preparation lor placing the paper 
mask onto the second side, the follow- 
ing steps are recommended: 

1 ) Place the mask on the board with- 
oui cement and orient the pattern to 
match the drilled holes, 

2) For an alignment check, hold the 
board up to a light and observe the 
light passing through the holes. View 
the board from the topside pattern. 

3) Push two or more straight pins 
through the corresponding mask "holes" 
into the board holes and note the proper 
trace orientation as shown in Photo G. 

4) When satisfied that the orienta- 
tion is correct, coat the copper and the 
paper mask with rubber cement. 

5) With the straight pins pushed 
through the paper mask, use the pins as 




Photo I* This photo shows the operational prototypes of the da to 
receiver (right] and the data transmitter {left \. 

22 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



alignment guides while dropping the 
paper onto the copper as shown in 
Photo H, 

6) Remove the pins and rub out the 
bubbles and excess cement. 

With the mask in place, the trace 
pattern may be cut and removed, as 
was done for the first side. During the 
mask removal process, any misalign- 
ment of the trace pattern may be cor- 
rected as the process is performed, 
while using the mask lines as a cutting 
guide. Deviating from the drawn pat- 
tern may be necessary to correctly pick 
up the drilled holes. 

Double-sided boards made commer- 
cially usually have plated- through 
holes. Unfortunately, the plating pro- 
cess required for making the plated 
holes may be outside of the reach of 
the average ham, so the data transmit- 
ter and receiver boards have been laid 
out for "Z"-wires as was shown in part 
f\ Fig. 5. The objective of the *"Z"*wire 

is to connect the 
circuit trace on 
one side of the 
board to the trace 
on the other side. 
On the project 
boards, the solder 
pads have been ex- 
tended away from 
the IC pin or 
transistor lead far 
enough for a wine to 
be passed through 
the board. Where 
4l Z"-wires are used, 
component leads 
need to be soldered 



only to the bottom side of the board, 
as the "Z^-wirc will transfer the 
connection between board sides. 

Some bypass capacitors and the fil- 
ter capacitors will require soldering 
onto the upper surface traces, because 
holes have not been provided. Place- 
ment of the capacitors is at the user's 
option. As an example, the 1 00-500 jiF 
filter capacitor! s) may be placed any- 
where on the board where the +5 volt 
trace runs close by the ground trace. 

Photo I shows the completed proto- 
type boards for the data transmitter 
and receiver. Trace pattern errors 
found in the prototypes have been cor- 
rected for the patterns provided herein. 

I've been using the fingernail polish 
resist method for making printed cir- 
cuit boards for a great many years, and 
can attest to the reliability of the pro- 
cess, I hope that you will see the merit 
in the simple process steps involved 
and will give it a try. 

Alternate boardmaking techniques 

Because of the wide variety of 
printed circuit board processing tech- 
niques available, some alternate meth- 
ods can be found on the Internet, The 
techniques indicated below utilize the 
plastic toner used in copy machines 
and laser printers as an etch-resisL 

Here arc four good URLs: 

• thttp://geocitiesxom/pdmtr] 

• [http://www.iechniks.com/press-n- 
peel.hlml] 

• lhtlp;//www.qsLnel/ei9gq/pcb.hlml] 

• [http://www.nordicdx.com/dxlab/ 
makepcb2.html]. 



Carl Markle K8IHQ 
11 570 Taylor Wells Rd. 
Clairdon OH 44024-891 



Build This Variable 
AC Bench Supply 

If you can find a Variac transformer, that is. 



How many times have you home-brew folks had the need for a variable 120 VAC power 
supply? Well at least several We know that working with 12 volt DC on the bench is 
certainly no problem. If a mistake is made, you might lose an IC or two, but no fires 
erupt With AC — well things can get lethal before the fuse blows, and this is especially 
true when using 120 VAC. We have all done those dumb things thai have jump-started 
our heart from time to time. This u Variac n variable supply will prove safe on those 
start-ups of those questionable home-brew circuits that require AC supplies. 



1 



efs took at the central compo- 
nent, which is called a Variac 
transformer This is also known 
as an autotransformer in some circles. 
A certain ham who has tried to declare 
himself to be the authority in this field 
has also called the "auto trans former" a 
current transformer when it is used in 
RF impedance matching devices 
called baluns. 

Well, it is particularly a variable sec- 
ondary winding transformer thai al- 
lows a continuously variable primary- 
to-secondary ratio, thus providing a 
continuously variable AC voltage from 
zero to 130 VAC. These devices have 
become very expensive when purchased 



new, and are usually in the $130 range 
for the 3 A models. I do not recom- 
mend ihe purchase of a new Variac 
transformer. 

Now. look at the list of local hamfest 
flea market supply get-togethers. Usu- 
ally a five dollar entry fee will get you 
into one of these events. They lake 
place usually on Sunday mornings 
from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can look into 
QST t CQ t or 73 magazines under the 
"coming hamfests" section to deter- 
mine the location and date of each 
event. You can also check into your 
local two niclcr repeaters and someone 
can help you, since nearly all of the 
events are sponsored by repeater 



groups. Anyway, look for a Variac un- 
der the vendors' tables since they do 
not seem to have a high dollar value or 
a large demand these days. I found 
mine for a price of fifteen dollars. I did 
not even try to bargain or dicker, since 
the condition was very good. Try to 
ensure that the knob is with it, since 
the completed unit with knob will look 
more professional. Finding a replace- 
ment knob can become a real problem. 
so do your best. 

The next item is some type of volt- 
age indicator. It is possible to use a 
digital voltmeter and do calibration on 
the front panel, but a nice analog AC 
voltmeter is best since the AC line 



SB-3A 



PWR 



0.1 uF 



0.1 uF 



D 



1 20 VAC 



G 



m 




130V r^ 

mov rtf 



FILTER CHOKE r 



j 0.1 uF 



"VARIAC" AUTO 
TRANSFORMER 



0-1 30 V 



0-130VAC 

3AMAX 

400WMAX 



8.2mH, 5A 




Fig. 1. Supply schematic. 



73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 23 



ONE 



EMI/RFI CHOKE FILTER ASSEMBLY 
COMMON MODE 



I 



"HOT" 
(IN) 

'NEUT" 



VARIAC 



3.2mH 




0.1 uF 



r 





0.1 uF 



eg 

luF | 



« 



"HOT 1 



"NEUT" 



LOW-PASS 400kHZ AND BELOW 



Fig. 2. EMl/RFl choke filter assembly. Mount using 0.25-inch aluminum standoffs. 



voltage may varv at vour location. I 
found an old Lafaycilc model #99- 
51161 0-250VAC type. The vendor 
wanted one dollar, so I smiled and paid 
the man and thanked him. It's thai old 
story of one man's junk is another 
man's gold. He also had several new, 
boxed Heath kit 2(H) (iA meters for one 
dollar each. No. you do not have to ask 
me! The plastic covers snap off and 
two screws hold the metal scale plate 
in place, so reversing the plate and 
drawing a new scale is not a problem 
on these meters. With a shunt resistor. 
the meters can be used for nearly any 
DC application. A irimpot in scries 
will adjust the scale in the voltage 
mode. For AC, you can use a bridge 
rectifier and adjust. All this "stuff is 
bl your ARRL Handbook and many 
other good books. Be creative, spend 



one buck, and have some fun. If you 
feel you just have to purchase a new, 
good-looking meter, you can go to 

your local Radio Shack and order one 
(RS #22-412) at about thirteen dollars 
a pop! 

For safety's sake, we want to double 
fuse the little box. Use a 3 A slo-blo 
3 AG fuse on the primary side and a 3 
A fast blow 3 AG on the secondary 
side. This is all the protection that is 
needed. That expensive Variac needs 
primary and secondary protection for 
sure! 

When working on electronic projects, 
it is alwavs nice to filter the 120 VAC 
line to keep garbage noise out of the 
circuits being tested or developed. An 
inexpensive low pass (common-mode) 
filler is employed on this project, and 
can be seen in Fig. 1. 




Photo A, hi case, ready to go. 

24 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



Something like an electric motor ap- 
pliance putting common-mode noise 
on the line will give you nightmares. 
An inexpensive common mode filter is 
installed, which all hut eliminates 
noises from appearing on the primary 
or secondary of the Variac transformer. 
Working with digital circuits using a 
DC wall transformer for power can 
move tremendous hash and noise to 
the 120 VAC line and get unbelievable 
noise from the folks you live with, The 
8.2 mH filter is rated at 5 AC amps 
(RMS) so the 3 A requirement is well 
covered. The 0,1 jiF capacitors and 
130 VAC MOV lake care of any large 
peak voltage spikes very well. This is 
nice insurance in case a transient tries 
to get to the filter circuit. The MOV or 
metal oxide varislor device is for those 
unexpected current slugs that the elec- 
tric utility ignores, It will clamp off at 
the 150 V level, figuring in the vari- 
able voltage to variable lime factors. 
This device is rated at 130 VAC but is 
just not very fast. 

The line cord must be a three con- 
ductor (NEMAL) type preferably in 
the AWG #14 wire size. The green 
ground wire, when attached to the alu 
minum enclosure, will ensure safe op- 
eration no matter the situation. It is 
required these days by NEC (code), so 
it is a good idea to use it. Another note 
on the source of AC power which 
should be covered is the problem of 
GFI (ground fault) devices. If you use 
one of these safety devices to suppK 
your power to the workbench be aware 
of all the Triac/SCR noise that they 
produce. The common-mode filter will 
take care of that nastv little item. I 
have considered using this filter as a 
filter on the devices which NEC re- 
quires in the bathroom areas and when 
within six feet of water. That is another 
weekend project for the future! 

Now, lets look at the enclosure situ- 
ation. Any type that is aluminum 
would be OK, Again, we are looking 
for some degree of safely since we are 
foolina around with 120 VAC. I found 
a Ten-Tec Model MW-S enclosure at a 
flea market and purchased it for five 
dollars. The new price is about seven- 
teen dollars plus shipping these days- 
Just be creative! 



Well, the MW-8 I found had holes in 
the bottom, back, and also the front 
panel. The hole in the front got bigger 
lo accommodate the AC voltmeter 
The other front holes got covered by a 
piece of contact paper purchased at a 
local office supply house. Use a black 
felt marker to put the markings and 
scales on. The holes in the rear of the 
enclosure were enlarged lo handle the 
two fuses, and one new one was made 
for the 0,5-inch strain relief for the line 
cord. Again, use the fell marker lo 
identify the fuse sizes, etc. The marker 
can be had at your local post office for 
one dollar! It has both a broad and 
very fine point. What a deal for one 
buck! 

Once the components are mounted, 
you will be ready for the wiring of 
the unit Use insulated AWG #18 or 
larger. See Table 1 for parts info. The 



Oty. 


Part 


Source 


] 

Cost 


1 


MW-B enclosure 


Ten-Tec 


$17.00 


i 


3ASBfuse#3M55 


Hosfeti 

Electronics 

(HE) 


.30 


1 


3A fuse #31-359 


HE 


.06 


2 


Fuse ho We rs #43-206 


HE 


1.50 


1 


Strain reliel 


Local 


£5 


1 


Lino cord #60-372 


1 HE 


175 


1 


1 20 VAC 3A Variac 
aulo xfmr 


H.-iMitesi or 
flea market 


15.00 


1 


130 VAC MOV 
#V130LA203 


HE 


60 


2 


Panel- mount AC 
receptacles 


Local 


1.00 


1 


ISO VAC panel meter 
(RS *22-4\2 = $1 3) 


Hamfesi or 
rtea market 


1.00 


4 


01 \tf 250 VAC box 

capt#ts-82B 


HE 


,25 


1 


Dual S 2 rnH toroid 
Choke 250 VAC 5A 
02^ #18-129 Pulse 
Engg #96130 


HE 


35 


^ 


SPDT 3 A toggle 
switch #51-268 


1 HE 


.75 


1 


Perlboard RS #276- 

1396 

i 


Radio 
Shack 


350 


OR 


1 


PCB 


FAR 

Circuits 


4 00 * 

150 

s/h 


4 


Sets aluminum 
standoff hardware #6 


Your 

Choice 


1.00 


3 




Solder lugs #6 


Your 
choice 


.15 r 



suppliers' info is listed below in the 
text The use of clear 100% silicone 
caulk lo mount the components onto a 
perf orated board works well Or, you 
can use the PCB available from FAR 
Circuits, (I originally used perfboard, 
but now there is a PCB available,) 

Now that you have all the compo- 
nents and assemblies, you can wire the 
components together using the sche- 
matic. Follow the schematic in Fig, 2, 
and as each wire is installed use a yel- 
low- hi-lighter (Broad Point) to mark 
each wire on the schematic. 1 find that 
nearly no mistakes will happen when 
this procedure is used. 

When everything is wired and 
checked, you can plug it in and flip the 
switch with the Variac at zero volts. 
No smoke generally indicates you 
have done a good job. A blown fuse in- 
dicates you did something wrong! If 
everything is OK, then plug a lamp 
into the utility plug and turn the Variac 
slowly to 120 VAC, watching the 
bulb's intensity increase as voltage in- 
creases. Ensure the AC voltmeter is 
also functioning correctly. 

Now you have a soldering iron heat 
controller — among some other good 
things! Good luck! 

Notes/Sources 

FAR Circuits, 18N640 Field Cu 
Dundee IL 60118-9263, PCB is $4 + 
$ 1 .50 S/H. 

Hosfell Electronics, (1-888-264- 
6464), catalog. 

Jameco Electronics, (1-800-83 1- 

4242). catalog. 
Ten-Tec, ( 1-800-23 1-8842), catalog. 



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73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 25 



Jim Kocsis WA9PYH 
5380 Flicker Lane 
South Bend IN 46637 



$5 Infrared Remote Tester 



Build this and look like a hero. 



This article describes a simple device to test all kinds of infrared transmitting devices. 
Ali parts are available at Radio Shack at a total cost of around $5. It has no adjustments 
and the physical layout is not critical 



Okay, you're a ham. By default, 
you're also the electronics ex- 
pen of the family. On call "24/ 
7" (hours a day/days a week) for all 
kinds of questions. For example, some 
family member tells you; "My TV re- 
mote doesivt work;' What do you do? 
First, you check that the batteries are 
installed properly, then you check the 
batteries with your DMM/VOM to 



make sure they're good. You point it at 
the TV ? CD player. DVD player etc., 
and hopefully it works. If it does, 
youVe a hero for discovering that the 
batteries were put in backward after 
the old dead ones were replaced. 

But what do you do if it still doesn't 
work? How can you tell if the problem 
is in the remote or the TV? I suppose 
you could go to a store and buy one of 







CM RADIO SHACK 276-1 45 NPN 

INFRARED PHOTO TRANSISTOR 
02 2N2222 NPN TRANSISTOR 
CI NON-POLARI2ED0.1uF, 15V 
D1 LED 
U1 LM324 QUAD OP AMP 



Fig. L Schematic with typical waveforms. 

26 73 Amateur Radio Today ■ March 2001 



those universal remotes. But what if 
you're checking an IR keyboard or 
mouse or other device with an IR 
transmitter that doesn't have a generic 
replacement available at the corner 
store? 

This article describes an IR receiver 
that tells if the IR is transmitting by 
blinking an LED at the same rate as 
the transmitted signal. You can build 
this very simple project for about S5 
and have a portable checker that you 
can loan to friends, relatives, and 
neighbors. All parts are available at 
Radio Shack; if you have the prover- 
bial "well slocked junk box," you may 
already have most parts on hand. 

Circuit operation 

The schematic with typical wave- 
forms is shown in Fig. 1. The incom- 
ing IR signal shines on the domed top 
of transistor QL causing it to conduct 
current, resulting in a voltage drop 
across Rl. Op amp Ula is wired as a 
buffer to isolate the detector from the 
rest of the circuit, CI couples the sig- 
nal from this buffer to amplifier Ulb. 
Uld with R6 and R7 provide a "stiff* 
virtual ground halfway between ground 
and the supply voltage. This virtual 




Photo A, Here r s the board, right out in the 
open so you can get a good look. 



ground is used to make the power sup- 
ply act like il is a ± 4.5 volt power sup- 
ply. The bottom of R8 is tied to virtual 
ground to keep the input to Ulb from 
floating to V+ or V-. If the input did 
float either high or low, operation of 
the circuit would cease. 

Ulb with R2 & R3 amplify the sig- 
nal by a factor of 390 (R3/R2). The 
voltage at Ulb pin 7 is halfway be- 
tween V supply and ground, with the 
IR signal superimposed on top of it. 
By amplifying the signal by a factor of 
390, ii saturates the output of Ulb. The 
squarewave output of Ulb goes fronr 
1.5 volts loss than the supply voltage 
to true ground. Uld is used as a cum- 
parutor. Pin 9 is held at 591 above vir- 
tual ground by resistors R9 and RIO, 
Pin 8 goes to +7,5 volts when pin 10 is 
more positive than pin 9. Q2 is turned 
on through R4 only on the positive 
part of the squarewave signal from 
Uld. Q2 lights the LED. 

I used an LM324 since it is capable 
of accepting and outputting a low volt- 
age right down to 5 millivolts above - 
V supply (pin 11). This is needed since 
Q2*s base must be less than 0.65 volts 
above true ground to shut off with no 
incoming signal. 

The waveforms shown on the sche- 
matic represent just part of a complex 
waveform. Vary the timebase of an os- 
cilloscope from 0,5 milliseconds to 20 
microseconds to sec all parts of the ac- 
tual waveform. The amplitude at Ula 
pin 1 will vary with distance, I ob- 
tained 3 volts peak-to-peak at 3 inches, 
The maximum working range was 23 
feel. The sisnal at the IR sensor at this 
distance is of course very low. 



Construction 

I constructed my unit using pert- 
board and push-in clips. I didn't choose 
to lay out or fabricate a PC board since 1 
built only one unit. Before mounting the 
board in a small N»\ the project looked 
like Photo A, The completed unit can be 
put in a small box (Photo B). I suggest 
locating the input transistor at the end of 
the box and the LED on top oi' the box. 

You will have to perform testing in a 
dimly lit room (not total darkness) or 
shield the IR detector with an opaque 
tube to let light in only from "head- 
on." If sunlight or bright lights are 
shining on the detector, the LED will 
be on full- lime and prevent you from 
testing a remote unit. You could also 
reduce the gain of Ulb so the tester is 
not as sensitive, but I did not try this. 

An interesting point is thai you can 
sec the 60 H/ sine wave from an incan- 
descent light bulb by monitoring pin I 
of Ul with an oscilloscope. You will 
have to adjust the sensitivity of the 
oscilloscope to accommodate the 
signal level since it will vary with the 
distance to the light bulb. 

Summary 

You can build this project in just a 

feu hours. With it you can help neigh- 
bors, relatives, and fellow workers 
troubleshoot their IR transmitter de- 
vices. If you make it look homemade. 




Photo IL The completed unit 

people will likely ask how you knew 
to build a tester like this. Use that op- 
portunity to talk up electronics and 
ham radio as a hobby. 

There are probably some changes you 
can make to produce a waveform at 
IClb pin 7 that is a little more squared 
off (il is quite rounded off) and more ac- 
curately represents what is actually be- 
ing sent from the IR transmitter, I didn't 
bother to research this anv further since 
I just wanted lo know if the IR remote 
\\av actually transmitting. If you have 
an oscilloscope, monitor pin I to see 
the differences between codes sent 
when pushing different buttons. 

1 had fun building and debugging 
this project. If you build it, please let 
me know hou \ou like il and if you 
made anv changes. I would like to hear 
from you. Don't be surprised if you get 
that "Gee, what an electronics genius 
you are!" look from someone you 
help. Happy soldering! 



Ham Mall 

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73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 27 



Erik Westgard MY9D 
3990 Virginia Avenue 
Shoreview MN 55126 
[ewestgard@worldnet.alt.net] 



QRP Drives Ham Nuts 

Buys "critical mass'* of parts and then goes on bizarre building spree. 



As with most of my hobbies, my interest in amateur radio has waxed and waned over 
the years. Until about a year ago, I was in an amateur radio downturn. I had even sold 
my HF rig t and was in possession of only my trusty collection of ancient Icom u2AT 
and u4AT handhelds, and a Sony shortwave radio. 



For some reason, I decided that 
QRP was going to be the spark 
_ this time around, and deter- 
mined that when I got hack on HF. it 
would be with a rig I built myself I 
had an old copy of the 1 986 edition of 
the QRP Notebook by W1FB, and re- 
read it cover to cover four or five 
times. My files bulged with QRP ar- 
ticles torn out of magazines, and I 
thought I had accumulated a good 
supply of parts over the years. 

Full of anticipation, 1 pulled out 
WB0NQJVTS 1 1 /l 990 73 Amateur Ra- 
dio Today article, "TTL Transceiver 
for 40 Meters," and headed for the 
workshop, A quick review of the parts 
list revealed a hie shortfall Our local 
electronics store and three nearby elec- 
tronics surplus stores were almost no 
help. You could find 2N2222s, the oc- 
casional MFP102 t and assorted resis- 
tors and capacitors, but lor toroids, 
magnet wire, interstage transformers, 
or variable caps, it was going to re- 
quire extensive planning ahead. No 
amount of searching revealed a single 
receiver or transmitter that could be 
built with in-house stock, or parts 
available locally. 

I ended up having to rummage 
through all the available ARRL/W 1FB 
28 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



books and my article file, making lists 
of parts 1 was likely to need, I ordered 
a handful of every type of toroid men- 
tioned, and rolls of magnet wire. The 
Radio Shack magnet wire assortment 
covers only half of the common sizes, 
and they don't stock toroids. (They do 
have an assortment of largely un- 
marked TV-type RF coils and chokes, 
but these are mostly not useful for 
QRP work. You w r onder why they 
don't have a toroid assortment __,) 

Below is my Amidon shopping list, 
which has enabled me to tackle most 
of the projects I have found. Dan's and 
other outlets sell most of these items. 
Fry's Electronics stores even stock 
T50-2 and FT37-43 toroids, and some 
sizes of magnet wire. The list: 

1 BN43-3312 balun 
1 BN43-202 balun 

1 BN43-7051 balun 

8 T37-6 iron powder toroid 
4 FT30-43 ferrite toroid 
8 FT37-43 ferrite toroid 
8 T50-6 iron powder toroid 
6 FT50-61 ferrite toroid 
6 FT50-43 ferrite toroid 
6 FT37-61 ferrite toroid 

2 FT37-63 ferrite toroid 

6 T68-2 iron powder toroid 



4 T37-2 iron powder toroid 
8 T50-2 iron powder toroid 
6 T68-6 iron powder toroid 
1 pk DFB43-1G1 ferrite beads 
1 pk DFB43-30I ferrite beads 
1 spool each #20, #24, #26 magnet 
wire 

This whole list was around $95. 

From Dan's, I ordered some 2N3866s, 
CA3046s, NE602s, and some MC 1496s. 
He also has RCA 40673 parts, and 
10.7 MHz IF cans, which appear in 
many projects, I also got a number of 
air variable capacitors and mica ca- 
pacitors from him, From Mouser, I got 
more IF transformers, 4k/600 ohm 
transformers, some tuning caps, and 
RF chokes. 

After literally ten orders from vari- 
ous web sites, I thought I had a critical 
mass of parts. Here are rigs I built, and 
the results I had: 

TTL Transceiver for 40 Meters 
(Rick Lucas, WB0NQM 73, 11/90, 
pp. 30-32), This one appealed to me 
— it looked simple, and I was sure I 
had most of the parts, I ended up hav- 
ing to place several orders to get the 
chokes and 1 ,0 p.H variable. The local 
surplus store had the TTL heal sinks, 
but that was it. The receiver never 



worked properly due lo local AM over- 
load. I think the old Mylar variable cap 
I had in my parts bin was suspect. Note 
that FAR, who supplies circuit boards 
for many projects, will also provide re- 
prints of the original magazine articles 
for a small charge. 

Poor Hams QRP Rig iWlFB QRP 
Notebook, 1986, pp. 30-31), After 
stern admonitions from W1FB on the 
necessity of having a good enough rig 
for a proper signal, this one had sev- 
eral stages and looked solid enough. I 
had trouble here in the output stage — 
and learned that an 820 pF ceramic cap 
that says 820 on it might be an 820, or 
it might be an 82, An 821 is a better 
bet. This one is reliable, and with all 
the stages has made a good test source. 
as it is not all that sensitive to changes 
in loads. And this one needs #24 mag- 
net wire — not in the Radio Shack as* 
sortrnenL Using the Sony shortwave in 
SSB mode, I spent hours trying for a first 
contact with the transmitter connected to 
a dummy load. I swear I almost got 
someone to respond. 

Boots for the 1-Watter {WIFB QRP 
Notebook, 1986, pp. 32-33). Learning 
the futility of calling CQ QRP, I tried 
this amp. The first effort, with junk 
box transistors, did not work. I learned 
about the need to have f several times 
higher than the target frequency. It was 
nice to not need a special RF trans- 
former — but if you are ordering tor- 
oids from Arnidon. what's another 
item on the list? This one finally 
worked for a minute, and then stopped. 
I think I have excessive wire lengths 
someplace. 

Cubic Incher (80m) (1986 ARRL 
Handbook). Try finding a 1000 pF 
trimmer cap anywhere. Our local an- 
tique radio store (there is not one in 
every city, alas) had some mixed larger 
square trimmers in a bin. A $14.95 ca- 
pacitance meter add-on (used in solv- 
ing the "is 820 really 820" issue 
above) revealed a 1000 pF model. This 
worked well with a spare TV 
colorburst crystal, and an NTE transis- 
tor from our local electronics store. I 
miswired the power just once (learning 
about protection diodes) and had to get 
a new transistor, this time an ECG. 
Now the transmitter was chirpy. This 



one went on the shelf, until a Michael 
Jay Geier KB1UM article "Cassette 
Box SpeeiaP(7J, 4/90. pp. 46-50), 
suggested that cheap color burst crystals 
were not a good idea for transmitters. I 
changed crystals — no chirp. 

Two-Stage Regenerative Receiver 
( WIFB Design Notebook, p. 109), De- 
spite admonitions that minimum-com- 
ponent receivers were frustrating, I 
built this one, and spent hours putting 
it in a metal box. It had weak output, 
never worked properly. I also learned I 
am a few miles from a powerful AM 
station that gets into everything. Adapt- 
ing knobs to those large screwdriver- 
type trimmer caps is not fun. 

Small Wonder Labs/ SW+ (NN1G) 
Kit. Having learned a thing or two 
about toroids, I tried this kit. The crys- 
tal Filter, "grounded to reduce blow- 
by" was just the ticket lor eliminating 
interference from my local AM sta- 
tion. The signals were nice and clear 
— and hearing stations on a rig you 
built yourself is every bit as good a 
feeling as advertised. I learned 1 make 
one wiring mistake for every ten con- 
nections wired or components in* 
stalled. There is nothing wrong with 
the directions here. Moving to a trans- 
ceiver and having frequency agility is 
luxurious. The price for this one as a 
board-only kit is very attractive. 

Small Wonder Labs/ White 
Mountain 80m SSB Kit* After some 
time playing with the SW+ above, I 



remembered tine thing — I hate CW. 
This kit was complex, hut well within 
my comfort level It worked the first 
time, which was a plus, It receives re- 
ally, really well, but attempts to reach 
my local SSB section net (with most 
stations running kilowatts) were futile. 
I bought a new HF rig about this lime 
— "to tune the antenna." I said. I 
broke dow n and got the matching cabi- 
net and frequency counter package — 
it looks nice, and it's fun to know 
where you are on the band. 

Ramsey Q80 15W Amplifier Kit* 
Determined to reach ihe Minnesota 
Traffic Net, I bought this kit, I put it 
together in several rushed hours count- 
ing down to the traffic net. The first 
try, it behaved just like the "Boots" 
amp above — one transistor (actually 
MOSFET) got really hot. the other was 
cool. One of the output filter toroids 
required doubling up on ihe windings. 
which seemed suspect so I called Tech 
Support at Ramsey. He said to check 
the transformer wiring, making sure 
the insulation was not scraped in the 
core, causing a short. He said the filter 
toroid was OK w ith two layers. I found 
I had not scraped enough coating off 
one of the transformer windings enter- 
ing the board prior to soldering. On 
power up I was getting 100 watts out, 
and a poor tone, which the book said 
was due to a bad match. I was running 
to the dummy load via the tuner at 
some random setting Oh, well. The 




Photo A* Some of the rigs built by NY9D. 



73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 29 



directions for this one are really good 

— they lell you the functions of many 
of the parts as you install them. I did 
finally reach my nel with the White 
Mountain rig plus the amp* 

WIFB Five Watt Class C 5W Amp 
{WIFB QRP Notebook 1991, p. 129). 
While waiting to call Ramsey, I took a 
dav off from work, this time for a non- 
push-pull amp, which 1 was deter- 
mined to get working. This one called 
for 560 pF mica caps. Rather than 
guess if some nice micas marked 560 
were really 560s, I had some giant. 
waxy color-coded jobs from a grab bag 
at Dan's. These had 560 written in 
marker I drilled out the holes in the 
FAR Circuits PC board for l he thick 
leads. (This is not good if your boards 
have plated holes.) In a surprise move, 
this amp worked the first time. Wow, I 
also found out that my Poor Ham's 
40m trans mi tier had a grungy-sound- 
ing signal when amplified, so I tuned it 
up. With the help of my handy transis- 
tor substitution book, this amp was 
powered by the output transistor from 
one of six broken CBs 1 got for a dollar 
each. One rule I have learned: If you 
want radio parts in your junk box, you 
pretty much have to start by taking 
apart radios, 

W1FB Universal DC Receiver 
[WIFB QRP Notebook 1991, pp. 77- 
82, Fig. 3-27). Finally believing 
WIFB on the "loo-simple" receiver is- 
sue, I ordered up the board for the Uni- 
versal DC receiver from FAR. This 
would also be the ultimate lest of my 
new junk box. which was mostly filled 
with stuff I had ordered. I also have 
been busily accumulating more elec- 
ironic scrap. Attempts to pull the old 
Ham Radio trick of begging broken 
TVs from repair shops failed (some- 
body was buying these) but I was able 
to eet six used VGA monitors from a 
local secondhand PC shop. These are a 
rich source of small signal transistors, 
trimpols, electrolytic caps, and ce- 
ramic caps. WIFB specifies NPO 
caps, which 1 was ignorant of before. 
The VGA monitors are a decent source 
of these, easily spoiled (once you 
know what to look for) by their black 
stripes. I have not been able to get this 
receiver to work. The 4k/600 ohm 
30 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



transformers tor this one were back- 
ordered for a while. One big question 
— a value for C3 is not specified. 

Ramsey 80m Receiver. While on 
ihc subject of things not available, I or- 
dered a Ramsey 80 receiver from their 
Web site, I got a nice call the next day 
saying these were out of stock. I re- 
membered that AES stocked them, and 
got one in a few days. This one went 
together in a flash, and worked the first 
time. The tuning is a bit touchy, so I 
am going to substitute a nuiltilurn pot 
like the Small Wonder units have. 
Some local AM tended to get into this 
rig, uhich was greatly reduced with 
my antenna tuner front-ending it. I was 
pleased to see the use of pots and 
varactor diode-type tuning, I am learn- 
ing to hate variable capacitors, due 
mostly to obsolescence and short sup- 
ply issues. I did order a 30m version of 
this receiver from Ramsev, and a 
matching cabinet. I found a 1 0.140 MHz 
crystal in an old CB, and want to get 
on this band. 

Looking ahead, the Norcal QRP site 
has a new 10m surface mount kit, 
They have a warning as well that we 
need to get to know about surface 
mount technology; as the through-hole 
devices are going away. I only have 
one concern here — I find I can install 
surface mount devices, but do have 
trouble removing them without ruining 
ihem. 

I think that once you build a few 
projects, and get them working, you 
can tackle almosi anything. The local 
Minnesota QRP Club had a contest for 
an 80m transceiver design. I was inter- 
esled a few months ago, but not in a 
position to compete. Alter a few more 
months, and few more projects, who 
knows? 

LPS. We thank quite-sane (we hope) 
NY9D for putting up with this article 
title in the spirit in which it was in- 
tended, fun. — ed,] 

Sources/References 

Amateur Electronic Supply, 5710 W. 
Good Hope Road, Milwaukee WI 
53223, 1-800-558-0411. |http://www. 
aesham.com/index 1 Q.html], 

Amateur Radio Consignment Center. 
St. Paul MN, (651 ) 644-3102. 



Amidon, 240 Briggs Avenue, Costa 
Mesa CA 92626, (714) 850-4660, 
[http://www.bylemark.com/amiddli/ 
index. him], 

ARRL Handbook and QST Maga- 
zine, [www.arTl.orgl. 

ARRL QRP Notebook, Doug DeMaw, 
ARRL, First Edition, 1986 (out of 
print). 

Dan's Small Parts and Kits, Box 
3634, Missoula MT 59806-3634, 
(406) 258-2782, [http://www.fix ;net/ 

dans,himl#dan\s031, 

Digi-Key, 701 Brooks Avenue, Thief 
River Falls MN 56701-0677, 1-800- 
344-4539. [http://vvww.digikey.com]. 

ECG Semiconductor*. 1001 Snapps 
Ferry Road, Greeneville TN 37745 
(products sold through distributors), 
[hitp://www.ecg products, com/ 
ECGCrossRelerencc/i ndex.html]. 

FAR Circuits, 18N640 Field Court. 
Dundee, IL 60118, (847) 836-9148 
voice/lax (boards and matching article 
reprints), [hup:// 1 69. 207.3. 68/-farcir/ 
indexhtmj. 

Fry's Electronics — stores located 
mostly in the western US. 

Minnesota QRP Cluh. [hup:// 
www.qsl.net/mnqrp/]. 

Mouser Electronics, 958 North 
Main, Mansfield TX 76063-4827, 1- 
800-346-6873, [http://www l mouser. 
com]* 

Norcal QRP Club, [hup://www t 
rix.net/-jparker/norcal.html]. 

NTH Semiconductors, 44 Farrand 
Street, Bloomfield NJ 07003-2597. 1- 
800-631-1250 (products sold through 
distributors), 1 www.nleinc.coml. 

QRP Power Joel Kleinman and 
Zack Lau. ARRL. First Edition, 1996, 
ISBN 08725-95617. 

Ramsey Electronics, 793 Canning 
Parkway, Victor NY 14564, (7 1 6) 924- 
4560, [http://www.ramseyelectronics. 
com/eg i- hi n/SoftC art, exe/scsiore/ 
H frameset.htm ?E+ses tore]. 

RF Parts, 435 South Pacific Street. 
San Marcos CA 92069. 1-800-737- 
2787. |hltp://ww'wxfpart5xom/]. 

73 Amateur Radio Today Magazine, 
70 Hancock Road, Peterborough, NH 
03458-1107,(603)924-0058. 

Small Wonder Labs, Dave Benson 

Continued on page 58 



Hugh Wells W6WTU 

1411 18th St. 

Manhattan Beach CA 90266-4025 



Bookbind THIS! 



Parti 



Get organized, and save money, too. 



What do you do with all of your technical publications such as 73 Amateur Radio 
Today? Do you stack the publications on a shelf, stuff them into a box, or throw them 
away? Are you aware of the valuable information that has been imparted on the pages 
of each issue placed into your hands? 



ams, above most others, com- 
municate technical informa- 

tion via schematic diagrams. 

Schematic diagrams carry the concept 
of a project design and techniques tor 
achieving a useful piece of equipment. 
Unless the various issues are cataloged 
and stored where they can be found, 
the valuable information is essentially 
lost forever. 

Not everyone can afford to have a 
huge library room available to them. I 
suffered from attempting to store the 
various publications on a shelf, and 
soon ran into a dilemma of disappear- 
ing storage space. To solve the prob- 
lem at my house, I started binding the 
publications into annual volumes and 
then placing them in an organized 
fashion onto the same shelves. To save 
space with each annual volume, it was 
necessary to remove and save selected 
parts out of each issue before rebhid- 
ins it into a volume. Each volume is 
marked with the magazine title and the 
publication year so that it will be easily 
identified. 

Although the process steps for bind- 
ing publications is simple and without 
surprises, it takes longer to describe 
the process than it actually takes to 



implement all of the steps. As a result, 
the bookbinding process has been 
broken up into three parts, I've in- 
cluded a number of pictures and dia- 
grams in an attempt to make the 
techniques clear without anyone 
having to guess. In addition, a listing 
of the process steps is provided in the 
sidebar, Although this procedure works 
well, please understand that the ap- 
proach I've outlined here is only one 
of many ways to accomplish the task, 
so you are encouraged to experiment 
to find a technique that works for 
you. The important thing to remember 
is that valuable information must be 
saved. 

Perhaps the biggest inhibitor in any 
"new" process is the tool inventory re- 
quired to make the process work 
smoothly. The tools that I selected for 
my use were drawn from what I had on 
hand for doing woodworking projects. 
Perhaps the only two "critical" items 
are the wood rasp for trimming the 
stem and the padding compound used 
for gluing the pages of the new vol- 
ume. The wood rasps that I use have 
very sharp teeth that cut bound paper 
easily without tearing, I've used other 
types of wood shaper tools with some 
success, hut really prefer the rasp. 



Material and tools 

Materials used in the bookbinding 
process are basically three items: kite 
string, padding compound (pad ce- 
ment), and manila folders. Except lor 
the padding compound, the other two 
are very common. Photo A shows the 
tools and padding compound used in 
my process. 

A non waxed kite string is used to 




Photo A, Needed roots and pad cement. 
73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 31 




Photo B. Clamping fixture, damps, and 
weights, 

provide mechanical strength to support 
the g I tied stem. To "tcsf the string for 
suitability, lay a short piece in water. If 
water is absorbed into the strins. then 
it is suitable tor this process. 

I've tried several types of glue to 
hold the "new" volume together, but 
prefer the use of padding compound, 
also known as pad cement. The com- 
pound dries as a clear flexible, and 
tough hinder that adheres to the paper 
pages. I've used "white glue" for glu- 
ing the book stem with success. But 




the drawback showed up a few years 
later when the white glue became hard 
and would crack when the book was 
opened up fully. Otherwise, it certainly 
did the job. Padding compound/ce- 
ment is available at most bookbinding 
operations and at suppliers of book- 
binding materials. Tve found thai one 
quart of compound will last me several 
years. 

After the "new 1 * volume has been 
glued, a new cover is placed around it. 
The material that Pve been using suc- 
cessfully for cover material is called 
Index Bristol. Most people recognize 
the material as a "manila file folder" 
The typical and preferred size is 8-1/2 
x 1 1 inches with a "straight cut" (no 
notches or tabs), The advantage of the 
new cover is that it adds very little to 
the total volume, but dresses up the 
new volume and provides additional 
strength to the glued stem. Straight-cut 
file folders work well for the majority 
of volumes that do not exceed about 
one inch in thickness. If the new vol- 
ume exceeds one inch, then a sheet of 
material larger than a file folder may 
he required. Large sheets of Index 



Bristol in various sizes can be obtained 
through most stationery stores that pro- 
vide customized ordering. The typical 
size sheet that I've found useful is ap- 
proximately 26 x 32 inches. Each sheet 
can be cut down to cover three iaree/ 
thick volumes. 

Tools used in this suggested book- 
binding process are assembled from 
"what's available" in the woodshop. 
The wood rasp is perhaps the most 
critical tool of all because it is "key" 
for trimming the binding stem of the 
volume. Wood rasps are available in 
most hardware stores. 

Here is a listing of the tools and aids 
that I've found useful: 

• Wood rasp 

• Large 4 'C~ or wood clamps 

• Hacksaw, metal cutting blade 

• 3/8"-wide acid brush, or equivalent 

• Scissors 

■ Vacuum cleaner with hose and nar- 
row pickup nozzle 

■ Sharpie™ black marking pen, fine 
tip 

» Wooden pencil. #2 

• Misc. weights 

• Flat bar, wood or metal 



Photo C. Twelve issues slacked in month 
order — January on tap and December on 
the bottom. 

32 73 Amateur Radio Today ■ March 2001 



Bookbinding Steps 

1. Collect and son magazines into Mucks of annual issues. 

2. Stack issues from December (bottom) to January (top). 

3. Tie stacks with string until ready to tear them apart, 

4. Tear each issue down into individual pages, 

5. Thin each issue for parts to save and those to discard, 

6. Tie completed stack with siring until ready to bind. 

7. Adjust binding fixture for narrowest page. 

8. Place one page at a time into the binding fixture. 

9. Clamp the volume. 

10. Rasp the stem to make all pages equal width, 

1 1 . Saw slots into the stem for string, 

12. Cut notches into the stem lo ensure capturing all pages with glue, 

13. Vacuum to remove paper dust, 

14. Tie string into the .sawed slots. 

15. Scrub glue into the string and paper, 

16. Remove the volume from the clamps, 

17. Select a cover for the volume, 

18. Crease and fold the cover to fit the volume. 

19. Apply glue to the volume stem. 

20. Insert the volume into the cover. 

2 1 . Drop- impact the volume to seat the volume into the cover. 

22. Place the volume in clamps while glue is drying, 

23. Using scissors, trim the cover to fit the volume. 

24. Mark the cover. 

25. Crease and open the new cover. 



• Wood for making clamping blocks/ 
fixture 

A word about the flat bar is in order. 
The bar that I've been using is a large, 
flat mil) file that I happened to find at a 
swap meet. Because of the length and 
stiffness, ii has been an ideal bar for 
holding the lop side of the volume dur- 
ing clamping. Photo B shows the 
clamping bar, clamping block, clamps, 
and miscellaneous weights. Alternate 
''bar" materials will also work. Wood, 
and aluminum or steel angle stock are 
suitable materials for a bar. If wood is 
selected, Douglas fir, oak, ash, walnut, 
etc., arc the better choices and will 
work well if the thickness is greater 
than 1/2 inch. Stiffness is the key, to 
reduce the tendency of bowing while 
under clamping pressure. 

Beginning steps 

The first step in the process is to col- 
lect all of the annual issues of a given 
publication and stack them lace up, 
with the December issue on the bottom 



and with January on the lop. A length 
of kite string is loosely lied around 
the stack to keep it organized in 
preparation for the tear-down step. 
Step two involves separating the is* 
sue page by page until the annual 
volume has been completed. Again, a 
length of kite string is placed around 
the loose volume pages to keep them 
organized until the binding process 
has begun. 

Part 2 of Bookhind THIS! will dis- 
cuss the types of bindings that a ham is 
most likely to encounter with various 
publications, the steps involved with 
separating the pages, and "thinning" 
OUt the volume for saving shelf space. 

Part 3 of the series will discuss the 
process for binding and gluing the vol- 
ume, followed by the marking of the 
new cover for the new volume. 

Take advantage of the opportunity to 
save all of the valuable electronic infor- 
mation that has been placed into your 
hands. Utilize the bookbinding process 
as a stepping-sione for recovering shelf 



space and saving valuable knowledge 
in an organized manner. 

(Here's a simple book shelving 
riddle for a likely harmonic or maybe 
even your next club meeting. if you 
take a year of 73 (12 issues of 64 pages 
each) and put the issues on a shelf in 
normal left-to-right monthly order, 
how many pages will there be (exclud- 
ing covers) between the first page of 
January (don r t count that) and the last 
page of December (don 'f count that, 
either)? — J. B J 

Answer to Bookhind This! riddle: 

Easy, huh? 12 x 64 = 768, less 2 (Jan. 
first page, Dec. last page) = 766. 
WRONG — Guess again! 

The correct answer is 640, Remem- 
ber, the first page of the January issue 
sits to the right of all other January 
pages on the shelf, just as the last page 
of December sits to the left of all other 
December pages on the shelf. So the 
January and December issues are ef- 
fectively excluded from the count. 
Thus. 10x64 = 




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73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 33 



1^ 



Paul Swearingen W9PJF 
704 East Webster St, 
Benton I L 62812 



Guessless Beam Pointing 

This has been around for years, but for you newcomers ... 



It would be hard not to notice the improving conditions on our HF bands. During the 
next few years, contacts around the world will be easy to make and signal strengths 
will be very high. Working DX will be possible with "barefoot 9 ' rigs and simple antennas 
such as dipoles and verticals. 



Abeam antenna can do a much 
better job hov\ even For ex- 
ample, a three element vagi 
beam can show about an 8 dB gain 
over a 1/2 wave dipole mounted at the 
same height, or a power ratio of about 
6 to I . In other words* a 100 W station 
with a 3 element beam will sound like 
a 600 W station using a dipole, and 
the beam will make just as great an 



improvement in receiving, All gain an- 
tennas such as yagis. quads, and 
phased arrays provide significant im- 
provements to both your transmitted 
signal and to your receiving capability. 
Most dipoles are in a fixed position, 
and their directions of maximum ra- 
diation are not easily changed. A rolat- 
able beam, though, can concentrate 
your radiated power in the direction 




Photo A. This globe gives accurate bearing information to any place in the world from 
my present QTH in southern Illinois. 

34 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



you desire — just point it toward the 
station of your choice. 

When you are out hunting, you aim 
your gun at the squirrel, rabbit, bird, or 
whatever. How can you accurately 
point your beam at a DX station you 
can't see? There are computer pro- 
grams available which can tell you the 
true bearing or direction from your 
QTH to major world locations — ref- 
erenced to true north. Since about 
1960, I have been using modified 
desk-si ze globes of the world to show 
me where to point my beams both 
quickly and cheaply. See Photo A. 
This particular globe is one I modified 
for my dad hack in the mi d-fi flies* 
while I was home on leave from the 
Air Force, It's not very fancy looking, 
as I had no "press-on" lettering avail- 
able then to give it a more professional 
look. It does give accurate bearing in- 
formation to any place in the world 
from my present QTH in southern Illi- 
noiv The following instructions are 
valid for locations in the northern hemi- 
sphere. If your QTH is south of the equa- 
tor, you must modify the procedures 
accordingly, 

While a standard globe can usually 
be rotated around its North Pole/South 



Pole axis, the modified globe has a 
new axis of rotation and is not usable 
at other QTHs more than a few miles 
away. The modification requires the 
axis of rotation to be changed to one 
that passes through the location of 
your QTH and through a point on the 
opposite side of the globe. Most of the 
cheaper desk-size globes have mount- 
ing systems that are flexible enough to 
allow the supporting pivots to be re- 
moved from their North Pole and 
South Pole bearings. Then, a pivot 
hole, the same size as the original 
North/South pivot holes, must be 
drilled at the location of your QTH and 
another one on the opposite side of the 
globe. The exact location of this sec- 
ond hole should be determined accu- 
rately to ensure smooth globe rotation 
as well as directional accuracy. The 
easiest way is lo take advantage of the 
latitude and longitude markings on the 
globe. Latitude is simply measured 
from the Equator (latitude zero de- 
grees) to the North Pole (latitude 90 
degrees north) and, similarly, from the 
Equator to the South Pole (latitude 90 
degrees south). 

My QTH is located at about 38 de- 
grees north latitude/88 degrees west 
longitude. The latitude of the opposite 
hole will be 38 degrees south latitude. 
The desired longitude of the opposite 
hole is not so readily apparent. Fig, 1 
represents the Earth as viewed from an 
imaginary point directly above the 
North Pole. Longitude is measured 
from the Greenwich, or Prime merid- 
ian, eastward and westward to a line of 
longitude exactly opposite the Prime 
meridian. East longitude then is mea- 
sured from zero to 180 E and West lon- 
gitude similarly measured from zero to 
180W. (The 180W and 180E lines of 
longitude coincide and represent the 
International Date Line, although ad- 
justments have been made locally to 
satisfy political desires.) 

As shown, the 88 degree west line of 
longitude, from my QTH through the 
North Pole, turns into the 92 degree 
east line of longitude on the other side 
of the pole. Note that these lines are 
180 degrees apart. So, tor my QTH. the 
desired location of the opposite pivot 
hole will be 92 degrees east longitude/ 



92E 



90E 



180 



W 



QTH 38N 88W 




E LONGITUDE 



GREENWICH OR 

PRIME MERIDIAN 



LONGITUDE 



90W 88W 



Fig. 1. This represents the Earth as viewed from an imaginary point directly above The 
North Pole, 



38 degrees South latitude. 1 marked 
this point and drilled the second pivot 
hole at that spot. Your new pivot hole 
positions should be calculated using 
the latitude and longitude of your 
QTH. 

Now reassemble the globe to the 
mount using the new pivot points- 
Looks strange, doesn't it! The upper 
pivot point now is at your QTH rather 
than the North Pole. Most globes have 
a pivot support system in the form of a 
semicircle. This semicircle is usually 
calibrated in degrees of latitude north 
and south of the Equator (which is 
marked with a zero); the North Pole is 
at 90 degrees, as is the South Pole. 

Hold a pencil or Magic Marker 
against this semicircular support at the 
zero (0) position, or midpoint, in such 
a way that the tip 
of the pen/marker 
just touches the 
globe proper. Now. 
rotate the globe 
through 360 de- 
I grees, leaving a 
trace completely 
around the globe. 
This is your new 
artificial equator. 
For a more pro- 
fessional look use a 
pencil to make this 
line and then use 
PC artwork as an 
overlay to produce 
a smooth line. Next, 
rotate the globe 
until the empty 
pivot hole that 




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73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 35 



POLARIS 
(NORTH STAR) 



MEOREZ DUBHE 



ALIOTH 



f 



miAF. 



PHECDA 1 



/ 



MAREK 



ALKAID 1 



URSA MAJOR 

■BI":-.D C '-E = 



Fig, 2. The Big Dipper and its relationship 
to Polaris. 



had represented the North Pole just lies 
under the semicircular support arm. 
Mark this point on the artificial equator 
— this now represents the direction of 
north, zero degrees or 360 degrees. 

Repeat this with the pivot hole that 
represented the South Pole. This mark 
will represent the direction of south, or 
1 80 degrees, Now rotate the globe un- 
til the new artificial equator intersects 
the real Equator somewhere to the 
west of Africa. A mark here will indi- 
cate the true direction of 90 degrees, or 
east Repeal for the intersection of the 
artificial equator and the real Equator 
somewhere west of Haw r aii. This point 
will mark the direction of 270 degrees, 
or west 

The location of markings for the 
hearings between and 90 degrees 
will have to be determined by measur- 
ing the distance between and 90 de- 
grees along the artificial equator and 
dividing it into 6 equal segments 
which can be used to mark the 15. 30, 
45, 60 and 75 degree positions. In a 



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similar fashion, mark the segments be- 
tween 90 and 180 degrees, 180 and 
270 degrees and 270 and 360 degrees. 
Use nib-on lettering or Magic Markers 
to highlight these bearings. 

Rotate the globe until Central Eu- 
rope is under the support arm and then 
read the number on the artificial equa- 
tor behind the aim. From my QTH, 
this bearing reads 45 degrees and is the 
direction I point my beam for most Eu- 
ropean DX. When I first used this 
globe system. I was surprised to find that 
South America was not to my south 
but more to the Southeast. This is an 
easy-to-use system to determine the 
true bearing to any place in the world. 
Just rotate the globe until the country 
of choice lies under the support arm 
(now the cursor), and read the bearing 
from the artificial equator line. The 
main problem remaining is to ensure 
that your beam and rotator can accu- 
rately position your antenna to the 
correct direction/bearing. 

Once you know where the beam is to 
be pointed* you should make sure that 
your beam is mounted properly so that 
the rotor control meter displays the 
beam heading accurately. At zero, 
north or 360 on the meter, the beam 
should be pointing directly toward the 
north geographic pole. An easy way to 
locate true north is to use the star "Po- 
laris," often called the North Stan Po- 
laris is within one (I) degree of true 
north and is quite visible in the North- 
ern Hemisphere. It can be located by 
using the stars in the Big Dipper (Ursa 
Major) as guides. The Big Dipper and 
its relationship to Polaris are shown in 
Fig, 2. (The Big Dipper will change po- 
sitions during the year, but the pointer 
stars will always point to Polaris.} 

Imagine a straight line from Marek 
through Dubhe and beyond. The first 
bright star that this imaginary line in- 
tercepts will be Polaris, the North Stan 
City lights may make Polaris hard to 
find. If so, a late night or early morn- 
big observation might be necessary. 
When you locale Polaris, stand at the 
base of your tower and find a suitable 
landmark directly between you and 
Polaris. This gives you a permanent 
reference toward true north, usable in 
the daylight when you will probably 



be adjusting your beam. Adjust your 
beam mounting arrangement so that 
the beam points toward this landmark 
when the rotor control meter reads 
"Zero/ "North," or "360 * Your rotor 
control system will now be about as 
accurate as possible. 

If you find it impossible to see Po- 
laris from your QTH, a couple of alter- 
native ways to determine true north are 
available. For one, many towns and 
cities have their streets laid out in a 
north-south and east- west pattern. If 
applicable, use a N-S street as a 
pointer to find true north. Your city 
engineer should have reliable in for- 
mation on the street layout in your 
town. 

Also, a good magnetic compass can 
be used to find true north. Unfortu- 
nately, the north magnetic pole to 
which a compass needle points is not 
located at the north geographic pole. 
Local magnetic anomalies also effect 
magnetic compasses. The difference 
between true north and the direction to 
which a magnetic compass needle is 
pointing is called "magnetic variation" 
and this varies from location to loca- 
tion. Magnetic variation is shown on 
many maps as dashed lines, each 
marked in degrees and identified as 
east or west variation- These lines arc 
known as isogonic lines or lines of 
equal magnetic variation. Interpolation 
must be used to find the variation at lo- 
cations between adjacent lines. When 
variation is "east." magnetic north is 
east of true north. When variation is 
"west," magnetic north is west of true 
north. At my QTH, the variation is 4 
degrees east, which means that a mag- 
netic compass here will point 4 de- 
grees to the east of true north. So I 
would have had to make a 4 degree ad- 
justment to use a magnetic compass. 
Many sport and military compasses 
are available that have an adjustable 
bezel or sight assembly that permit 
offsetting the compass reading by the 
amount of local variation (+). 

Accurately determining the direc- 
tion to the stations of your choice and 
then pointing your beam in that direc- 
tion will maximize your chances for 
DX contacts, as well as permit more 
solid stateside QSOs. 



36 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



Calendar euents 



Listings are free of charge as space permits. Please send us your Calendar Event two months in 
advance of the issue you want it to appear in. For example, if you want it to appear in the May 
issue, we should receive it by March 31. Provide a clear, concise summary of the essential 
details about your Calendar Event 



MARCH 10 

KNOXVILLE, TN On Saturday, March 10th p 
the Shriner/Hams of Kerbela Amateur Radio 
Service will sponsor their annual Hamfest at 
Kerbela Temple, 315 Mimosa Ave., Knoxville 
TN, 8 a,m -4 p.m. Admission is $5. Indoor 
vendor tables are $8 each plus admission of 
$5. Setup Friday from 4 p.m.-B p.m., and 
Saturday 5 a.m.-8 a.m. Overnight security 
will be provided. Talk-in on 144.83 (T)/ 
145.43(R); or 146.52 simplex. Smoking 
Indoors is permitted in designated area only. 
Contact Paul Baird K3PB, 1500 Coulter 
Shoals Circle, Lenoir City TN 37772. Tel. 
(865) 986-9562. 

SCOTTSDALE 3 AZ The Scottsdale ARC 
hamfest will be held starting at 6 a.m. at 
Scottsdale Community College, 101 North - 
Exit Chaparral Rd. p 9000 E. Chaparral Rd, 
Scottsdale AZ, Parking $2. Tables $10. RV 
parking. VE exams. For more info, contact 
Roger Gaboon KB7ZWI, 8501 E. Edward, 
Scottsdale AZ 85250. TeL (480) 948-1824. 
Mobile (602) 725-7256; Fax (602) 943-7651. 
Send E-mail to [rgcaboon® rnsn.com], 

MARCH 10, 17 f 21, 29, APRIL 17 

ST LOUIS, MO Three FREE all-day Severe 
Weather Observation training seminars are 
planned at various locations around St, Louis 
County. All are welcome, including those from 
outside the area. Free parking. Certification 
provided for RACES, and SKYWARN , all at 
no cost. At most locations, SKYWARN Level 
1 Training is presented in the morning, and 
classes resume in the afternoon with the 
SKYWARN Level 2 Program. Training will be 
held as follows: Saturday all-day classes on 
March 10th, 17th and April 7th. Evening 
classes {Level 1 only), on March 21 at and 29th, 
For locations call the Severe Weather Info 
Line, (314) 61 5-785? \ for a taped message and 
additional information. 

MARCH 11 

AMHERST, MA The Mount Tom Amateur 
Repeater Assn, will hold its 16th Annual 
Amateur Radio & Electronics Flea Market on 
Sunday, March 11th h at the Amherst Regional 
Middle School, 170 Chestnut St., Amherst 
MA. From Exit 4 on Mass Pike, take 91 N to 
Exit 18, Rte, 9, take Rte. 9 North to Amherst 
Center. Left onto Pleasant St., right on Main 



St. at third traffic light. High St. on left, Talk-in 
on 146.94{-} Mt. Tom rptr. Doors open at 7 a.m. 
for vendors, 9 a.m. for bargain hunters. 
Amateur and commercial license exam 
session at 10 a.m. Refreshments, 120 VAC, 
plenty of parking, help loading and unloading, 
handicapped accessible. Tables $15 each. 
Tailgating $5, General admission $5 per 
person, under age 12 free. See the Web site 
at [www.mtara.org]. Contact Cindy Loiero 
K1ISS at[n1 fi@arri. net t or (4 1 3) 568- 1 1 75 for 
table or exam reservations and additional info. 

MARCH 18 

JEFFERSON, Wl The Tri-County ARC witl 

present "Hamfest 2001 11 Sunday, March 18th, 

at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Activity 

Center, Hwy, 18 West, Jefferson Wl, 8 a.m.-2 

p.m. Vendors will be 

admitted at 7 a.m,; 

others at 8 a.m. only. 

Vendors oniy parking 

will be provided for 

unloading. Talk-in on 

the 145.49 rptr. 

Admission $4. Table 

space, 8ft., $6 each. 

Reserve your space 

early. Contact TCARG, 

213 Fred- erick St, 

Fort Atkinson Wl 

53538. Tel. (920) 

563-8381 eves.; FAX 

(920) 563-9551. E- 

mail [tricountyarc @ 

globaidialog.com]. 

MAUMEE, OH The 

46th Annual Ham- 
fest/Computer Fair of 
the Toledo Mobile 
Radio Assn. will be 
held8a.rn.-2pim.at 
the Lucas County 
Rec. Center, 2901 
Key St., in Maumea 
For details, send an 
SASE to PaulHanslik 
N8XDB, P.O. Box 
273 f Toledo OH 
43697-0273. Tel. 
(4 19) 385-5056; Web 
page [www. tmraham 
radio.org]. 



MARCH 24 

ST. PAUL, MN The Robinsdale ARC, Inc. will 
host its 20th annual Midwinter Madness Hobby 
Electronics Show at the Gangelhoff Center 
which is located on the Concordia University 
campus in St. Paul. VE exams 8:30 a.m. -3 
p.m. Super buys on computers, hardware, 
components, peripherals, and amateur radio 
equipment. Admission is $7 at the door. 
Contact RARG, P.O. Box 22613, Robbinsdale 
MN 55422; or call (763) 537- 1 722 Check the 
Web site at [http://www. visi.com/~kOitcl Send 
E-mail to [k0ftc@visi.com]. 

MARCH 25 

MADISON, OH The Lake County ARA will hold 

Continued on page 58 



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73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 37 



On the Go 



Mobile, Portable and Emergency Operation 



Steve Nowak KE8YN/4 

1011 Peacock Ave. NE 

Palm Bay FL 32907-1371 



Lessons From a Long Drive 



We are indeed a mobile society, as I experienced recently with a move from the southeast to the 
midwest to start my new career with the Nebraska Health System, Amid the preparations to 
prepare our house for sale and pack those things I would need to take with me in advance of 
the movers, I tried to look at the bright side. At least the drive from Florida to Omaha would 
give me some radio time. 



The three-day, L5Q0-mMe drive would 
give me ample opportunity to gel in 
some operating lime on both the HF hands 
and more than a few repeaters along the way. 
While I did get in some time, freezing rain 
and heavy snowstorms dictated that a sig- 
nificant amount of my time and attention 
be given to my driving rather than to the 
radio. 

Nevertheless, I was able to make some 
contacts along the way and make a few ob- 
servations. APRS was active, and I had pro- 
grammed a series of repeater frequencies 
into the Kenwood TMD-700A. I intended 
to operate some HF during some of the 
longer stretches o\' the drive, especially 
where I did nol expect much 2-meter activity. 

Mobile HF operations are a bit different 
for a variety of reasons. We operate with 
limited power, a modest antenna, and lim- 
ited band options. 1 have always been more 
successful at answering someone else's call 
than calling CQ myself. This means that I 
tune the band and listen in on what's hap- 
pening. I had my resonators for 10 meters 
and 20 meters on the Comet CA-HV an- 
tenna and bounced between the two bands 
as lime permitted. I was traveling during the 
week, so the stations T heard on the HF 
bands are probably quite a bit different than 
those T normal ly hear on evenings and week- 
ends. I don't know if it was a bad day, the 
phase of the moon, or what, but I do have to 
admit that I was actually embarrassed by 
what I heard. In fact, I turned the rig off on 
several occasions because I had no desire 
to listen to what was going on. 

On the other hand, I had delightful chats 
with several people on two-meter simplex. 
The people were polite, interesting and en- 
gaging, I couldn't help but think about all 

38 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



the brouhaha that surrounded the elimina- 
tion of the code requirement for the Tech- 
nician class license and last year's license 
restructuring. As you may recall, many 
worried that these newcomers might ruin the 
hobby if we no longer had code as an entry 
requirement. While these fears proved ground- 
less, I wonder it perhaps the opposite is true. 

As 1 mentioned, both the courtesy and the 
quality of the subject matter were signifi- 
cantly higher on two meters than on HE 
Many of these contacts mentioned that they 
were Technicians and we discussed a wide 
variety of topics and interests. Incidentally, 
some of the most intelligent conversations 
I had were with new hams who were teen- 
agers. These conversations certainly made 
my trip far more enjoyable. We've all read 
articles stressing how important it is for the 
survival of the hobby to get younger hams 
involved. Getting younger people interested 
in the hobby may not only benefit the hobby 
and promote its growth, but may also lead to 
more interesting QSOs. It seems as though 
the younger folks are more open-minded, with 
a wider range of interests. 

On the other hand, some of the HF op- 
erators I heard (who sounded old enough to 
know better) elicited no desire for me to pick 
up the microphone. In fact, it has forced me 
lo offer the following unsolicited ad vice. I 
understand that those who read it seriously 
are probably good operators already and 
don't need it, Likewise, those at whom it is 
aimed will assume it is meant for someone 
else and either ignore it or get surfy. 

When I was much younger I was taught 
that in polite conversation one should avoid 
sex, politics, and religion, I tend to believe 
that this still holds true on the radio. Let's 
just say that many of the topics and much 



of the language F heard on 20 meters, while 
certainly legal, tended to reflect poorly on 
those involved in the discussion. There's a 
time and place for everything, but I'm nol 
sure 20 meters and a kilowatt meets these 
criteria. Maybe the reason we weren't get- 
ting as many new hams into the field is that 
they listened in on the bands and decided 
against it. There are plenty of interesting 
topics to address in a hobby that is global 
in its nature. I find it hard to believe that 
constant complaining about everything 
that's wrong with the world is necessary, 
and I'm sure such diatribes convince some 
potential hams to look elsewhere for a 
hobby. 

I seem to recall reading when I first was 
studying to get my license that no one can 
claim ownership of a given frequency. Nev- 
ertheless, there appears to be a misunder- 
standing about this concept wherein certain 
operators feel (notice I donT claim that they 
"think") that certain frequencies are their 
private domain. Tve never seen the appro- 
ptiate regulation that gives certain opera- 
tors special enforcement authority to ensure 
that anyone invading "their" frequency is 
dealt with swiftly and harshly. 

Similarly, there are operators who might 
be well advised to go back to their study 
guide and bone up on propagation theory. 
Remember the ionosphere and its D, E, Fl, 
and F2 layers? As I recall, it is quite com- 
mon for propagation to be different between 
stations. In other words, your low power 
signal may be reaching me quite strongly 
while my high power signal is reflecting in 
such a manner as to miss you completely. 

Continued on page 59 



Homing in 

Radio Direction Finding 



JoeMoell RE.K0OV 

P. O. Box 2508 

Fullerton CA 92837 

[Homingin@aoi.com! 

[www.homingin.com' 



Your RDF Questions Answered 



The snow will soon be gone across most of North America, and hams in every state and 
province will be emerging from their shacks to go on hidden transmitter hunts, both on foot 
and in vehicles, Will you be among them? 



ARRL f s Web site recently surveyed visi- 
tors about their participation in trans- 
mitter hunting* which is also called 
foxhunting and T-hunting. Over 2,400 Web- 
savvy hams replied, a respectable sample. 
About a quarter of them said that they did it 
occasionally or often. Is that true of the 
members of your local radio club? 

On the other hand, 60 percent of survey 
responders had never tried Radio Direction 
Finding (RDF) contests of any kind, I won- 
der how that compares to other ham radio 
activities. The only clue at the ARRL's site 
was a survey of image modes, such as slow- 
scan and fast-scan ham TV. Almost 80 per- 
cent of responders said they had never tried 
them. 

I have urged you to enjoy this exciting 
part of ham radio in the pages of this maga- 
zine for over 1 2 years. My Web site has pro- 
moted it for almost five years. The response 
has been gratifying. Lots of hams and 
nonhams want to know more. Not surpris- 
ingly, many of the inquiries are the same. 
This month, I'll let you in on the most fre- 
quently asked questions about RDF, and the 
answers. 

Getting Started Is Easy 

Many newcomers overestimate the diffi- 
culty of putting on their first event They ask: 
"My club wants to start transmitter hunting, 
but first we need a hidden transmitter, What 
is available?" 

Before you can pick the proper tools for 
any job, you have to evaluate the job. Just 
as no screwdriver is perfect for every size 
screw, no hidden transmitter setup is ideal 
for all situations. Hiders use a wide variety 
of equipment. Power output and antenna 
type depend on the distance to the start point 
and the level of intended difficulty. Discuss 



with your club whether you want to do 
short-range on -foot hunting, longer-range 
hunting on bicycles, or still-longer- range 
mobile hunts. Inquirers seldom tell me this 
in the first E-mail. 

For your club's first mobile hunts, keep 
it simple. Have the hider stay with the trans- 
mitter and key it up at appropriate intervals. 
He or she can read into the mike from a book 
or from the club newsletter, or just make 
comments and urge the hunters on (Photo A). 
A starter hunt like this is a great way to end 
the weekly club or ARES net on your local 
repeater. With lots of folks listening then, 
you're more likely to get some of them to 
come out to find the T. Make sure to remind 
everyone to do their RDF on the repeater 
input frequency, not the output! 

After a few hunts, you may want an un- 
attended transmitting setup so that the hider 
doesn't have to stay with the rig. You could 
connect your two-meter hand-held or mo- 
bile transceiver to a tape recorder, playing 
an endless loop answering machine cassette 
with an appropriate message or sound ef- 
fects, plus station ID. Some prefer to hide a 
dual-band hand-held and activate it on the 
subband from another transmitter. 

Later on, after you gain some experience 
and have a better idea of your particular 
needs, consider a dedicated foxbox with tones 
and a cycling timer for hiding {Photo B), 
You'll need five units like this for on-foot 
hunts under international rules, I covered 
foxboxes in detail in "Homing In" for March 
1998 and in my book on RDF. (Transmitter 
Hunting — Radio Direction Finding Sim- 
plifiedby Moell and Curlee is published by 
TAB/McGraw-Hill, ISBN number 007- 
1560068.) 

Popular transmitter controllers for both 
mobile and on-foot foxhunts include PicCon 
by Byon Garrabrant N6BG and the 



Montreal Fox Controller (MFC) by Francois 
Tremblay VE2JX and Jacques Brodeur 
VE2EMM. See "Resources" for more in- 
formation. Advanced hunts with unattended 
transmitters are best on simplex frequencies, 
where they can't accidentally QRM repeater 
QSOs. 

Miniature transmitters bring almost end- 
less fun to advanced mobile hunts. In 
December's "Homing ln s " I told you about 
an Informal contest in the San Francisco Bay 
area to see who could make the smallest fox 
transmi Iters. At that time, one ham had a 




Photo A. A hidden transmitter setup 
doesn £ have to M fancy. David Bimger 
N0QEC and Daniel Cowell KB0IEK of 
the Lincoln (Nebraska) Amateur Radio 
Club await the hunters as they read from 
my book into the mike. Note the transmit- 
ting beam antenna affixed to the sawhorse. 

73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 39 




Photo B, VHF transmitter hoards like this two-watt synthesized model (T301) from 
Hamtronics are Ideal for medium-power foxboxes in surplus ammunition cans. They 
produce clean output when driving high-power amplifiers, if needed. 



transmitter, battery, and controller that fit 
into a 35mm film canister. In a recent E- 
maih Paul Shinn wrote, "That is now con- 
sidered to be big. The latest creation is 
dubbed the Micro Montreal Fox (MMF). 
It is almost half the size and puts out 60 
mi Hi waits!" 

Paul continues: "The MMF is built into a 
waterproof metal enclosure and is only 
slightly larger than a 9-volt battery alone. 
We also have a one- watt version in the 
works that will be about the size of four 9- 
volt batteries put together, The size is mostly 
for the lithium ion battery pack. The guys 
here like transmitters that stav on continu- 
ously and the hunts run for 4 hours, so that 
limits our minutturi/atiom Now, if we could 
just build a nuclear reactor that's the size of 
a pea!" 




Photo C Whether for sport or for covert 
tracking, the biggest part of a tiny hidden 
transmitter is sometimes the batterv. These 
transmitters, designed by Ken Bauer of 
Airtek* were featured in previous "Homing 
In " columns. 

40 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



Do-It- Yourself 007 Tricks 

Question 2 is by far the most frequently 
asked, because it comes from both hams and 
nonhams: i need a miniature transmitter 
to put on my prized possession to find it 
when it wanders away, or is stolen or ab- 
ducted. What is available?" The "prized 
possessions" in these inquiries have in- 
cluded sports cars, TV sets, motorcycles, 
cats, coonhounds, and many other things, 
living or inert. 

A stamp-size micro transmitter project 
was featured in "Homing In" for May and 
September 1 993 (Photo C). This 25 milli- 
watt crystal-control led rig was designed by 
Ken Bauer KB6TTS and can be tuned for 
cither the 2-meter or 125-centimeter ham 
bands. Surface-mount construction isn't for 
everyone, so Ken's company, Airtek Engi- 
neering, also makes wired/ tested transmit- 
ters. His primary market is hams who fly 
model gliders, to aid in their recovery. 

I always remind inquirers that transmit- 
ters on ham frequencies may only be used 
by licensed amateur radio operators, and 
thai plenty of T-hunting hams are ready and 
eager to track down nonham intruders on 
these frequencies. Station ID and control 
operator requirements of FCC Part 97 must 
also be followed (Photo D). 

Even a QRP transmitter has to be spec- 
trally pure, because it may end up near an 
airport or other sensitive location. The sec- 
ond harmonies of a two meter signal are on 
frequencies used by aircraft! Hiders in 
southern California like to put their T's on 
top of mile-high mountain peaks, where a 
few milliwatts can cover thousands of 



square miles. There are some tiny transmit- 
ters being marketed to T-hunters that have 
not been reviewed by "Homing In" because 
my tests have shown them to be spectrally 
"dirty. ? Just as output filters are standard 
equipment in base and mobile ham trans- 
ceivers, they should also be included in mi- 
cro-T's, even if it means making them a bit 
larger. 

There are several commercial suppliers 
of tiny transmitters and tracking receivers 
tor the wildlife management market, They 
are also popular with owners of prized 
hounds. Magnum Telemetry, featured Ln 
"Homing In" for August 2000. is an ex- 
ample, Under FCC Part 15, these transmit- 
ters typically operate jus! below TV channel 
7 or just above TV channel 13. 

To save battery life, tracking transmitters 
are usually pulsed for a few milliseconds, 
about once a second. For RDF, most wild- 
life trackers use verv sensitive receivers and 
beam or phased-array antennas, Special 
tracking receivers are expensive, but many 
users have had good results with ordinary 
hand-held scanning receivers. They should 
be niultimodc (including CW and SSB) 
models such as the Icom R-10, Trident 
TR2400, or Sony ICF-PRO80. 

Most of the miniature *'bug" transmitters 
that are advertised in experimenter maga- 
zines such as Popular Electronics and Nuis 
and Volts use the 88 to 108 MHz FM broad- 
cast band. At first thought, it appears to be 
an advantage that they can be received on 
ordinary home and car radios. However, this 
means that effective range is limited by in- 
lei fere nee from powerful broadcast stations. 
Furthermore, modulation deviation in the 
FM broadcast band is 15 times greater than 
on two meters, and receiver bandwidth is 
correspondingly larger. This means that sig- 
nal-lo-noise ratio is degraded and that FM 
broadcast receivers are incompatible widi 
narrowband Doppler RDF sets. 

Attaching your own tiny transmitter and 
antenna means that the thief who takes your 
prize-winning feline can get it out of your 
detection range very quickly, or simply put 
your tabby in a car trunk to shield the sig- 
nal. By contrast, commercial stolen vehicle 
recovery systems such as LoJack arc effec- 
tive because there are so many receivers in 
the service area that there is a good chance 
one will always be close by. In Los Ange- 
les, over 400 squad cars are equipped, plus 
law enforcement helicopters and some fixed 
stations. 

Kid Trackers, Too? 

Some inquirers carry this concept a step 
further, asking: * 4 T want a pager-sized 



tracking device to put on my toddler. This 
would work with a pocket-sized receiver and 
RDF set so I could locate the child in case 
he or she becomes lost or abducted." 

I often suspect that these writers are 
thinking not only of their own kids, but 
of the money-making potential of this 
technique. In cither case, the tracking of 
children is a much more serious and dif- 

i 

ficult matter than the tracking of sports cars* 
Here are just some of the many factors that 
must be considered: 

• Size — For sufficient transmitter power 
and antenna size to permit tracking over a 
wide area, the child's transmitting device 
must be bigger and heavier than most people 
would desire. 

• RDF — - An effective tracker needs a 
"wide aperture" antenna for sensitivity and 
accuracy, so it cannot be pocket-sized. How- 
ever, parents won't want to haul around a 
big tracker. 

• Battery Life — The longer the battery 
must last, the bigger and heavier the transmit- 
ter on the child must be. 

• Antenna — How do you put an effec- 
tive antenna next to a child's body without 
detuning the antenna? 

• RF Radiation — Is it safe to have a trans- 
mitting antenna next to a child's body? 

• Liability — Will the maker be sued if 
parents do not quickly Find their child with 
the device? 

• Security — How do you keep criminals 
from tracking other people's lost children? 
What happens if a potential kidnapper 
uses RDF to locate the lost child before 
the parents do? 

My advice is to leave kid-tracking to the 
professionals, and don't try it at home. If it 
were straightforward and easy, lots of 
companies would be doing it. The tracking 
devices would be as popular as Razor scoot- 
ers, But as of this writing, I don't know r of 
any. Sure, there are occasional news stories 
about such systems that will be available 
"real soon now." But somehow they never 
gain widespread acceptance. 

Most proposed and publicized commer- 
cial child-tracking systems don't use true 
RDF. Instead, they opt for GPS or other 
time-of-arrival (multilateration) solutions. 
The mention of GPS makes hams think of 
using APRS for this application. The pros 
and cons of that approach are beyond the 
scope of this article, but keep in mind that a 
GPS receiver doesn't work well inside a car 
trunk, either. 

A similar but equally often-asked ques- 
tion calls for a different approach. There are 
many variations, but this is typical: "Our 
construction company is losing small tools, 



either by accident (such as falling into holes) 
or theft. Can a transmitter be inserted into 
items like wrenches, drills, or grinders, with 
a RDF unit capable of detecting them from 
outside a vehicle?" 

RDF is typically done at considerable 
distance, from yards to miles and beyond. 
For that, transmitters require long-term 
power sources (such as batteries) and effi- 
cient antennas. Such an installation fits in a 
sports car or animal collar, but is too large 
to go into small items such as hand tools. In 
addition, the transmitted signal can be de- 
tected by anyone with a receiver tuned to 
the proper frequency, or even a frequency 
counter, so these systems are not covert. 

RFID technology at the job site exit is 
probably more appropriate for this tool -de- 
tection application. RFID systems precisely 
track property and objects at relatively close 
range. For instance, chips (also called tran- 
sponders) can be implanted in pets to pro- 
vide positive proof of ownership if the pet 
strays into the pound or is stolen. A reader 
device, passed over the chip, detects it and 
reads out the chip's unique ID code. Simi- 
lar RFID systems sound an alarm when non- 
paid-for merchandise passes through the 
doors of a store. RHD is done at greater 
distance in automatic toll collection sys- 
tems. The FasTrack® transponders for new 
southern California toll freeways can even 
be used to quickly pay for a McDonald's 
burger at the off ramp! 

The chips (also called tags or transpon- 
ders) are usually passive, meaning that they 
don't require battery power. They cannot be 
detected with conventional receivers, but 
only by a reader or polling device designed 
to be used with them. For a quick introduc- 
tion to transponder technology with some 
links, see the Radio Frequency Identifica- 
tion (RFID) Systems page at the Virginia 
Polytechnic Center for Wireless Communi- 
cations Web site, listed in "Resources," 

Wrong- Way Beams 

The last question for this month hasn't 
actually been asked many times, but it 
should: "Can I use my two-meter yagi or 
quad for RDF on other frequencies, such as 
the aircraft band for Emergency Locator 
Transmitters (ELTs), or the VHF marine 
band?" 

No! The directional characteristics of 
parasitic antennas such as yagis or quads 
change significantly when frequency is var- 
ied by only a small amount. I thought every 
ham knew this until I put on one of the first 
223 MHz hunts in southern California a 
decade ago. It wasn't in a truly difficult-to- 
find place, but one hunter couldn't seem to 



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73 AmatBur Radio Today • March 2001 41 



— 




Photo D. You don't have to use surface -mount techniques to build a small two-meter 
transmitter. This cigarette-pack-size rig by Don Lewis KF6GQ was built around the 
Motorola MC2833 transmitter and 555 timer ICs, both in DIP packages. It puts out 
five milliwatts. The top board came from a voice-message greeting card, now used to 
generate audio modulation and station ID. 



close in. Every time I talked to him, he was 
in a different spot that was equally far from 
my location. 

Finally, I asked what equipment he was 
using for RDE He replied, "My two-meter 
quad, of course!" I asked him to lake a bear- 
ing on my signal and tell me what it was. Sure 
enough, it was off by almost 1 20 degrees ! 



Space for this month is almost gone, so 
I won't go into all the theory, but suffice 
it to say that a full-size VHF or UHF quad 
or yagi won't have full gain or directivity 
when used at more than plus or minus 3% 
of its design frequency. A shortened or 
loaded gain antenna (such as the Shrunken 
Quad in my hook) is even more sensitive 





Photo E, VHF/UHF yagi and quad antennas must be operated within a few percent of 
their design frequency for best RDF performance. Bob Milter N6ZHZ of the Civil Air 
Patrol built this special cut-to-frequency dual -band quad for tracking weak aircraft 
Emergency Locator Transmitter signals on 12 1.5 and 243,0 MHz, 

42 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



to frequency, with a usable bandwidth of 
one-quarter percent or less* 

An Internet foxhunting mailing list recently 
had a message about hams in the state of Wash- 
ington who discovered that their two-meter 
beams worked backwards when tracking 
121 .5 MHz ELTs. Thai's no surprise when you 
consider that the reflector of a 1 46 MHz beam 
is about the same size as die director of a 1 2 1 1 5 
MHz beam. Similarly, an illustration at the 
1 'Homing In 1 Web site shows how a two 
meter beam "points rearward" when track- 
ing 172 MHz wildlife transmitters, and has 
almost 8 dB less gain, too. 

Incorrect feedpoint matching is another 
problem of off- frequency beams that usually 
doesn't appear in antenna design software 
plots, It results in additional unwanted pattern 
lobes and nulls, caused by interaction of the 
feedline pickup and beam response. Since it's 
easy and inexpensive to make y agis and quads 
with optimum dimensions and matching for 
any VHF/UHF frequency, take the dme to do 
the job right (Photo E), 

What's Your Question? 

I enjoy corresponding with hams and 
clubs that are getting started in hidden trans- 
mitter hunting- But before you press the E- 
mail SEND button, check the "Homing In" 
Web site. The answer to your question might 
already be on the Frequently Asked Ques- 
tions page, or somewhere else in the 30 
subpages there. 

Please don't get anxious if you don't get 
an immediate answer. If I can reply com- 
pletely from information in my head or if I 
need more details from you, you'll prob- 
ably hear back right away. But if I have to 
do any research at all, such as look up a Web 
site or magazine article reference to recom- 
mend to you, then your mail goes into the 
"to do" file and might take a while to 
emerge, especially if a business trip i ntervencs, 
Don't give up unless it's been at least a couple 
of weeks, then send me a reminder in case I 
lost your mail or it didn't gel to me. 

One of my greatest frustrations is to do 
the research to answer a specific question, 
then have the reply bounce back to me be- 
cause the sender changed E-mail addresses 
or canceled his E-mail account. If you're 
not going to be at your return E-mail address 
for at least three weeks, kindly wait until you 
have a "permanent" address before sending 
your inquiry. 

Continued on page 59 



Say you saw it in 73! 



QRP 



Low Power Operation 



Michael Bryce WB8VGE 

SunLight Energy Systems 

955 Manchester Ave. SW 

North Lawrence OH 44666 

[prosolar @ sssnet .com] 



More HW-9 



Last lime, we talked about the slipping VFO in the HW-9. Vve received many letters and E-mails 
from readers telling me that those hints put several H\Y-9s hack on the air. Let's hope this 
month we can get some more HW-9 QRP rigs operating. 



The HW-9 is a very good QRP trans- 
ceiver. However. 11 suffers from several 
problems. This month I'll lake a look at 
some of these aliments and how to overcome 
them. 

Low RF output 

Besides the slipping VFO, the second 
most common problem with the HW-9 is 
low RF output on the higher frequencies. 
This problem is most notable on 10 meters 
and 12 meters, Sometimes, the 15-meter 
band becomes unstable, but has more than 
enough RF output. 

To fix the instability problem, wc need to 
look all the way hack in the predrivcr. From 
die factory, 1 ' Heathkit used MPS652 1 tran- 
sistors (Heath p/u 417-172) for Q40I and 
Q)402. These are the pro-drivers thai drive 
transistor Q404. Q404 is a 2N3K66 (Heath 
p/n 417-205) that is more than adequate in 
power gain and frequency. Now, if you have 
ever built a QRP transmitter utilizing a 
2N3866, vou can relate to this. That tran- 
sistor has a wild side to it If the circuit is 
not designed correctly, a 2N3866 will be- 
come an amplifier and an oscillator at the 
same time. Looking into the radio, you' II 
see there are ferriie beads on the base leads 
of Q4Q1 and Q402. This indicates there are 
some instability problems. 

The stability problem is not with the 
2N3866 but rather the two predrivers, Q401 
and Q402. In a nutshell: too much gain. The 
fix is to install something a bit tamer. For 
Q401 t try a metal-cased 2N2222 Yup! And 
forQ402. a 2N3904 works. I've tried some 
2N4401s, but was not impressed, f also tried 
MSPA20s and some 2SC17 1 Is for Q40L 

With 1 3.8 volts, my HW-9 produces about 
seven watts on 80 meters and about three 
and a half on 10 meters. Tve heard some 



people talking about getting upward of nine 
watts out on 80 meters. Remember, the idea 
here is clean power, not just power. 

That amount of power is quite high for a 
QRP radio. If you're long* winded, better 
check the temperature of the heat sinks on 
the HW-9*s finals. Also, it's not a bad idea 
to install a heat sink on the 2N3866 as well. 

Fve talked to quite a few QRP ops, and 
one of the questions they have about ihe 
HW-9 is lack of power on the higher fre- 
quencies. The dropoff in power is espe- 
cially noticeable on 10 meters. If you have 
done the fixes above and still can 1 ! seem 
to gel 3-5 watts out on 10 meters, use your 



Fingertip and gauge the temperature on the 

final transistor's heat sink. They both should 
be quite warm to the touch after a few min- 
utes of key -down. If one takes the skin from 
your finger and the other one is stone cold* 
you had better order a replacement, The final 
transistors used in the HW-9 are MRF237&. 
You can get these from RF Parts. 435 South 
Pacific St., San Marcos CA 92069. I -800-737- 
2787. E-mail: [rfp@rfparts.com]. 

Better voltage regulation 

1 did not sit in the design meetings when 
the HW-9 was being born. So, 1 don't know 




Photo A. The bottom PC board for the HW-9. In the bottom center you'll see the two 
black heat sinks for the final transistors. On the left of the finals youll see the two empty 
slots for the filters. These open locations would be filled with the correct inductors 
needed. 

73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 43 




Photo B, The top PC board for the HW-9. 
Most of the mixer circuits are here. Aha, 
note the large amount of unstuffed parts. 
Again, these were for the "band kit" giving 
the user the WARC bands. 



why the engineers did not have the BFO and 
HFO oscillators run from the internal +9 
regulated supply. Instead, the VFO and HFO 
oscillators are supplied by the unregulated 
voltage coming in from the outside world- 
To improve the stability of the circuits 
that operate from the +9 volts, change U402 
from a 78L08 to a 78L09 regulator, and re- 
place D409 with a jumper wire. You'll see 
an overall improvement in operation. But 
the BFO and HFO are still running from an 
unregulated source. So, other than ripping 
up PC board traces, make sure you operate 
your HW-9 from a rather "stiff ' power 
source. 

Fixing the keying problems 

The HW-9 keys way too soft. In fact, 
speeds over 25 wpm are hard copy. Most 
QRP ops use a fceyer with a weight control 
to help stiffen up the keying on the HW-9. 
A better way is to change out some parts. 

The first place to stan is by removing 
C578, a 47 (iF electrolytic, and replacing ii 
with a 10 electrolytic capacitor. This short- 
ens the trailing edge but affects the mute 
delay line. To fix this, change the value of 
resistor R444 from 1 80 ohms to 1 500 olims. 

Try the HW-9 out again, Tf you find the 
LEADING edge of the C W waveform is loo 
hard, change capacitor C435 from 2/2 jiF 
to 4.7 pF. 

Some audio improvements 

In my HW-8 Handbook, one modifica- 
tion to improve audio was as simple as 

44 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



removing a capacitor and turning it around. 
You can do the same with the HW-9. 
Unsolder capacitor C336, a 2.2 jxF elec- 
trolytic, and install it backwards for po- 
larity. It should be reversed from what is 
shown in the manual, schematic, and PCB 
silk-screening. 

Some operators have had improved au- 
dio by subbing aTL084C quad FET op amp 
for the LM324 used at U304. Since this op 
amp is in a socket, it only takes a few sec- 
onds to swap out. I can't tell any difference 
in my HW-9. But others say the change was 
well worth the effort. 

While you're messing with the active 
filter, you might want to check the values 
of these parts: resistors R354 and R359 
and capacitors C339, C341, C344, and 
C345. They should all be as close to value 
as possible, And as in any audio filter, 
only the best-quality parts should be used, 
Leave the cheap stuff in the junk box. The 
better the quality, especially the capaci- 
tors, the better the filter will perform. 

Modifying the AGC loop 

Some find the AGC a bit too fast for them. 
You can alter this AGC loop by changing 
the value of either C317, a 3.3 |UF electro- 
lytic, or increasing the value of R312. You 
might want to play with the values of these 
two components. You can alter the AGC by 
lowering the value of C317 or increasing 
the value of R3 12. 

The HW-9 is a great radio. It's easy to 
work on, and has plenty of features. Aside 
from the problems (and what radio does 
not have a bug or two) listed above, the 
HW-9 would be at home in any QRP 
operator's shack. 

Finding an HW-9 

Although they were sold right up to the 
end, the Heathkit HW-9 still brings in lots 
of money on the used market. 1 don't know 
why, either. Depending on the options, such 
as power supply and WARC band kit, plan 
to pay from $200 up to $450 for one. An 
UNBUILT HW-9 on eBay went for almost 
$2000 ! 

Every now and then, I've seen the op- 
tional band kit listed on eBay, These seem 
to hover at about $50 each. If you 1 re handy 
with winding coils, you could hand-make 
the needed parts. You'll need to order the 
necessary crystals for the HFO oscillators 
for each hand you want. 

QRPARCI FDIM: 
Don't miss this one! 

This year, the Dayton Hamvention will 



HI 



iit 



be celebrating the 50th event. And again, this 
year the QRPARCI will be holding their "Five 
Days in May" QRP bash* The last several 
years, if s been a sold-out affair. So, here is 
the info you need to reserve your seal. 

"The QRP Amateur Radio Club Interna- 
tional (QRP-ARCI) proudly announces the 
sixth annual Tour Days In May ? QRP Con- 
ference commencing Thursday, May 17, 
200 1 — the II rst of four festi ve days of 200 1 
Day inn Hamvention activities, Mark your 
calendar for these four days, and register early 
for this not-to-be -missed QRP event of the 
new century. Amateur radio QRP presenta- 
tions, workshops, and demonstrations will be 
the focus of the full-day Thursday QRP Sym- 
posium to be held at QRPARCI headquarters 

— the Ramada Inn Day ion South. 
*Here is a brief overview of the four days: 
Thursday: QRP Symposium; 8:00 a.m.— 

4:30 p.m. Contribution: $15.00. Topics in- 
clude: SMT Construction — George Dobbs 
G3RJV, and Interference to Amateur Radio 

— Ed Hare W1RFI. And more — monitor 
the QRP-F. QRP-I, and QRPARCI Web site 
[http://www. qrparci.org/] for details on 
other presentations. 

'Thursday Evening: Author Social, 7:00 
p.m.-l 1 :00 p.m. No charge. A chance to meet 
and talk with the QRP Symposium speakers. 

"Friday Evening: Vendor Social — start- 
ing at 8:30 p.m. No charge. Friday evening 
has been set aside for QRP vendors. Here is 
a chance to eyeball the latest equipment and 
talk with the vendors. 

"Saturday Evening: QRPARCI Awards 
Banquet — 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. $25.00 
per ticket. Advance tickets only, see Web 
site for details. Saturday evening starts with 
the annual QRP ARCI Awards Banquet hon- 
oring QRPers who have made major con- 
tribution to QRP and amateur radio. We will 
also announce the winners of the various 
'build-it 1 contests. Fantastic door prizes, 
great speaker, tons of fun — be there. 

"Later on Saturday Evening: Display of 
the building and design contest entries and 
winners, PLUS the Radio Show — FREE! 
Saturday evening provides time for QRPers 
to socialize with the QRPers from around 
the world. Show off your projects/collec- 
tions at the Radio Show! All entries for 
the building and design contests will be 
on display. This year we have two general 
categories: 

■% Wide open category — bring your 
latest homebrew or kit project. 

*% The second contest is % the works/ 
Monitor the QRP-F, QRP-1, and QRP ARCI 
Web site [h tip;// www.qrparei.oigf J for details " 

For more information, checkout the Web 



site. It will be updated as more information is tied down. Hope to 
see you there. 

April QRP Contest 

Here are the rules for the April QRP Contest. 

1. When: April 14 1200Z through April 15 2400Z f 2001. Work 
.i maximum of 24 hours of the 36-hour period, CW only. Work 
station once per band. 

2. Categories; All-band, Single band, High bands, Low bands, 
Multi-Op, DX. 

3. Exchange: RST; Stale, Province, or Country (S/P/C); ARCI 
number (nonmembers, send power). 

4. QSO Points: Member = 5 pis. Nonmember, different continent 
= 4 pts. Nonmember, same continent = 2 pts. 

5. Multipliers: S/P/C total for all bands. S/P/Cs count once per 
band, 

6. Power: >5W = x 1 . 1-5 W = x7. 250m W-l W = xl 0. <250mW = 
xl5, 

7. Final score = QSO points x Total SPCs x Power multi. 

8. Suggested Frequencies (kHz); General — 1810, 3560, 7040, 
14060, 21060, 28060. Novice — 3710, 71 10, 21110, 28110. 

9. Team competition: 2 to 5 members per team, or unlimited 
number of operators as long as a maximum of 5 transmitters on the air 
at a time. Compete individually as well as on the team. Team captain 
must send list of members to Contest Manager before contest 

10. Send QRP ARCI contest entries within 30 days of contest 
date to: Randy Foltz K7TQ, ATTN: Spring QSO Party, 809 Leith 
St., Moscow ID 83843, or E-mail ASCII-text entries to 
[rfolLz@turhcincL com]. 




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73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 45 



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AO-40 Update 



Following the successful launch of Phase 3D, now AMSAT-OSCAR-40, on November 16, 2000, 
most of us listened for telemetry or just settled back to wait for transponder experiments. No 
one knew that a wild ride was just ahead! 



Early on Wednesday, December 1 3th, te- 
lemetry transmissions from AO-40 
stopped while work on the main engine sys- 
tem was in progress. Within hours. E-mail 
activity on "AMSAT-bb" (go to [http:// 
www.amsat.org] to subscribe) was incred- 
ible. What used to be a few hundred E-mails 
per week had now escalated to over 1 GO per 
day. If the telemetry had stopped at almost 
any other time, the event would probably 
have been given a nod, a simple reset com- 
mand would have been sent to the satellite's 
IHU (Integrated Housekeeping Unit) com- 
puter, and system checkout, and other tests 
would have continued. 

This was not the case. The loss of signal 
had occurred while valves in the propulsion 
system were being cycled. Due to the ex- 
plosive nature of rocket fuel and the pres- 
sures involved, this was not a good time to 
lose communications. Speculation, without 
sufficient data, swept through the AMSAT 
E-mail system. 




Photo A, The Drake 2880 commercial mi- 
crowave downconverter 

46 73 Amateur Radio Today ■ March 2001 



For both long-time and new satellite en- 
thusiasts, it was a frightening and nervous 
moment. AO-40 is the largest and most valu- 
able amateur radio satellite. It is not just a 
good thing and new toy for hamsat chasers; 
ils I on <i -term success or failure will have 
impact on amateur radio for years. 

False reports about weak signals coming 
through on two meters or 70 cm were 
common. There was even an instance of 
someone sending signals through the 
AMSAT-OSCAR-10 transponder in an at- 
tempt to imitate AO-40 telemetry. Amazing. 

In the meantime, the AO-40 ground con- 
trol stations were carefully attempting to 
regain control. Karl Meinzer DJ4ZC coor- 
dinated these efforts ? as the Phase 3D 
Project Manager Peter Guelzow DB20S 
provided updates to AMSAT groups around 
the world as they became available. 

Finally, on December 26th, Peter sent 
word that Ian Ashley ZL1AOX in New 
Zealand had successfully sent a reset com- 
mand on the L2 GHz control frequency to 
enable the beacon transmitter on 2401305 
MHz. It worked. AO-40 was back on the 
air, but the big questions remained. What 
had happened, and how would it affect the 
mission? 

The event 

During the 12 days of silence in late De- 
cember, many theories were voiced, pub- 
licly and privately, about what had happened 
and why. Like news commentators with 
little or no information about a calamitous 
event many words were posted with little 
validity. Ideas ranged from an onboard ex- 
plosion, a serious computer reset, or even a 
collision with a micro meteorite. The only 
theory not presented was an attack from a 
Martian warship. 



Until all of the telemetry from before and 
after the 12-day silent period has been stud- 
ied, only conjecture can explain "the event." 
It is known that there was a problem during 
the first attempted orbital -correction motor 
tiring. When the bum occurred, it lasted a 
few minutes too long, A sticking helium 
tank valve was being cycled by ground con- 
trollers after the longcr-than-expected first 
burn was completed. Did the cycling of the 
valve cause something to fail onboard? 
Hopefully, the answ r er will be available by 
the time you read this. Check out news up- 
dates from AMSAT |h lip:// www. amsat.org] 
and AMSAT-DL [http://www.amsat-dl.org] 
for possible updates. 

What's next? 

When signals were once again streaming 
earthward from AO-40, and software up- 
loads were working, it was time for a col- 
lective sigh of relief, but from a user 
standpoint several questions were evident. 

It is apparent that the satellite's L-band 
{23 cm) receiver is working and that an S- 
band (13 cm) transmitter is operational. 
What if the VHF and UHF transmitters are 
out of commission? 

The ground controllers will continue to 
analyze telemetry and test systems to find 
define any limitations caused by "the 
event." Early indications were that some 
temperature sensors were no longer work- 
ing, and some current sensors were provid- 
ing incorrect values. This would indicate 
something more than just a simple software 
glitch. If there are problems with some of 
the transmitters and receivers, w r e know that 
the 23 cm uplink and the 13 cm downlink 
work. It's a start. 

Orbital corrections were not complete at 
the time of "the event" The current orbit is 




Photo B. An alternative dowmconverter /?v Gardiner. 



not the desired high-orbit elliptical one that 
ihe designers want Instead it has an ex- 
tremely tall apogee, or high point of nearly 
64,(MX> km. and a low perigee, or closest 
point to the earth, of about 370 km. What if 
it is too dangerous to try to fire the main 
motor again? 

Orbital studies have shown that the cur- 
rent orbit, although not optimum, is stable. 
Even with the frighteningly low perigee, 
predictions show that the orbit will outlive 
the satellite's batteries and electronics hy 
decades. If no further main motor firings 
are attempted, some adjustments may be 
possible with the ammonia arc -jet motor, if 
it is still operational. 

S-band reception 

Until other onboard transmitters can be 
tested and brought on-line, it is necessary 
to listen for AO-40 on 2401 .305 MHz SSB. 
The easiest way to do this is with a modi- 
fied commercial TV dowiieonverter origi- 
nally designed for reception of AM TV 
between 2 J and 2,5 GHz (MDS TV. 




■M 



Photo C Another alternative downcon- 
vertenfrom Pacific Mtmolithics. 



Multipoint Distribution Service TV}, and 
subsequent conversion to low or high VHF 
TV channels. 

The most common downcon verier in use 
for S-band hamsat reception has been the 
Drake 2880, It was designed for an input 
range of 2.5 to 2.688 GHz, with output from 
222 to 408 MHz. It is designed to be 
mounted at the antenna, operate from 13.7 
to 24 VDC sent up the 75-ohm coax Teed, 
and provide a noise factor of three dB . When 
ii is used at nearly 100 MHz bekm its de- 
signed range, the internal gain and noise 
factor suffer. The output is also not within a 
ham band (two meters or 70 cm) when re- 
ceiving 2401 MHz. Numerous experiments 
have been tested on the Drake to make il 
work better and provide more convenient 
operation for AO-40 reception. A good place 
to start if you are fortunate enough to have 
one of these units is on the Internet. Check 
out information from Jerry K50E at [hup:/ 
/members. aol.com/k5oe/drake, htm | . Jerry 
provides first-hand experiences and a num- 
ber of pertinent links to sites in England and 
Japan thai provide everything necessary to 
gel the Drake ready Tor use. 

The Drake 2M80 is not the only unit that 
can be used for AO-40 13 cm reception. 
Other successful I v modified converters in- 
elude Gardiner. Pacific Monolilhics, Coni- 
fer, and others. Some good Internet sites to 
check for surplus converters and antennas 
i nclude [http://www.antennasysiemsxom/ 
broadband Jiiml#anchor932487 J and [http:/ 
/www.pliillips-tech,cornymain.asp?pagc= 
page4.asp]. If all else fails, there arc quality 
units built specifically for ham operation 
from SSB Electronics and Down East Mi- 
crowave, to name two of the more common 
sources. 

Telemetry 

Until the satellite is opened for analog or 
digital ham-to-ham contacts, telemetry is 

the only thing heard from AO-40. The typi- 
cal format is at 400 baud PSK (phase shift 
keying). This type of telemetry has been 



standard since the inception of the Phase 3 
program over two decades ago. Hardware 
demodulators for this formal are typically 

based on designs by James Miller G3RUH. 
However, with the proliferation of fast 
PCs, software alternatives have become 
common. 

Using the line input on a typical PC 
sound card and appropriate software, the 
telemetry stream from AO-40 can be de- 
tected, demodulated, and displayed on a 
PC. With the addition of software for te- 
lemetry decoding, informal inn on the 
satellite's status can be decoded and ob- 
scr\ cd in real time. Go to the AMSAT Web 
site [http://www, atnsat.org). find the link 
to "telemetry" on the opening page, and 
look for the P3T software from Stacey 
W4SM. You will also find links to sites 
that offer the sound-card demodulator and 
sources for code that work on non-PC 
systems. You* 1 1 enjoy the pursuit and the 
insight into AO-40's operations. 



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ANTENNAS: FROM THE GROUND UP 

"Volume [, Numbers I to 20" of this work by L.B. Cebik 
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The Digitrl Port 



Jack Heller KB7NO 

RO. Box 1792 

Carson City NV 89702-1792 

[jheller@sierra.net] 



DigiPanning 



Lots of updates are here for the taking. These computer-crafted radio modes seem to sprout 
new modes and updates for earlier programs like weeds in the spring lawn. 1 was going to say 
older programs instead of earlier. And that could have been politically correct in computer 
terms, hut most of the soundcard software has been around less than two years. 



y the lime I gel ihis off to the maga- 
zine and you have it in your shack, even 
all I tell you about the new stuff will often 
have been replaced. Ii is fascinating how this 
is working. There is a virtual explosion of 
technology and we in the ham community 
are reaping the benefits. 

This month's column will feature the lat- 
est, at this writing, of Dig! Pan. version 1 .5. 
I had almost forgotten about what a great 
program this is. I had used it and down- 
loaded a few of the updates through version 
L2 and was impressed with the intuit! ve- 
ness of the program. It is still just as easy to 
install, set up and use as the earlier versions. 
What happened to the two "missing" ver- 
sions seemed to have been a programming 
misfire, but the t.5 really works. 

It has two receive panes and they are large 
enough to hold 8 or 9 lines of text each, thus 
giving you time to read what is going on 
and see who is talking without fiddling with 
the scroll bars. Some of the programs w iih 
more than one receive pane get very lim- 
ited in the amount of text they can hold. 1 
shouldn't complain, though, because you 
can drag the divider between panes, e\ en in 
DigiPan, and make one large receive pane 
if you wish, 

My definitions of easy 

Alter I recalled it was time to check on 
the new version, I went to The Chart* cop- 
ied and pasted the URL to my brow sen and 
let the system put the file where I could Find 
it. Then I recalled that the last version I had 
downloaded was a misfire, so I brought up 
the "Install/remove program*' option in Win- 
dows95™ and removed the exisdng copy. 

The second step was to double-click on 
the recently downloaded fi le, follow die few 
instructions necessary, and the new software 

50 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



was installed. No fancy footwork or files to 
create by hand, just simply install it. 1 found 
the macros were in place from the prior 
installation, so there, a^ain, was no extra 
effort needed. 

The next step, after nosing around to see 
what was new. was to power up the rig and 
see what was going on. A few mouse clicks 
later and readable print was traveling across 
the monitor. 

The fourth step in this success story was 
to answer a CQ from a U A0 just north of 
Japan, The path wasn't too great, but we 
copied each other well enough to call it a 
QSO. Just that easy — 1,2, 3, 4, and we 
work a little DX on PSK31! 

It was now time to go back and figure out 
a few r things that drdn 1 1 seem quite so obvious 
(unintuitive?), I still didn't have the foggiest 
idea how to actuate the second receive panel. 
I was only using half the available listening 
capabilities. Well, that was simple also. 

When it is necessary to ask for help, 
DigiPan gives it big-lime. It looks as though 
the help file spells out everything you will 
ever need to know about how to nin the soft- 
ware. The file is extremely well written 
and I found several answers about as 
quickly as if the author were standing over 
my shoulder. 

There is a pull-down menu that allows 
you to choose the two-channel capability, 
and I had found that but I needed a tittle 
more, The explanation was simple You 
change the first or upper receive pane fre- 
quency by clicking the left mouse key in 
the waterfall on the desired signal. The 
lower pane is controlled with the right 
mouse key in the same manner. I probably 
would not have stumbled on thai by myself, 
but it certainly was simple to Find in the help 
file. (See Fig, 1.) 



The second question I had was one I had 
learned about in a previous version and 
promptly forgot, and thai was how to cali- 
brate the spectrum line above the waterfall 
I believe a search for "calibrate" turned up 
the answer to that one immediately, and a 
few more clicks and the line was reading as 
if it were meant for this place. 

The program is just simply easy to use. I 
think thai is why there are so many users. 
There is a minilos vou can use and then 
export for your regular logging program. As 
a matter of fact, if you do not have a sepa- 
rate logging program and wish to do so ? the 
mini log may answer all your needs, at least 
as far as working this mode goes. 

One of the important features of using 
ham-generated software for this kind of 
mode is to have macros ready to do the typ- 
ing ( and save the thinking) for you. DigiPan 
has the capability of defining 24 macro but- 
tons to do whatever you wish. Some are al- 
ready defined for you. some are not defined. 
You will find thev are easv to edit in the 
pop-up window when you right-click on any 
of the buttons. Instructions are contained 
within the window. 

A few of the important macros are ready 
to use right-out-of-the-box. CQ is there, 
along with a button to answer a CQ, as well 
as buttons for turnovers and ending a QSO. 
I will edit these to suit, and, as I said, the 
editing is a cinch with the examples and 
needed reminders at hand as soon as vou 
right-click on the button* Twelve macro 
buttons are shown across the top of the 
screen; then they are redefined as a second 
set of twelve w hen using the Control key. 

If you haven't as yet gotten into 
soundcard modes, the DigiPan Help File has 
a section on that under "Equipment Setup/ 1 
You can find how to route cables or make 




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Fig 7. Semnshol — DigiPan /.& »ft w new-and-improved software thai so many hams 
have so willingly taken into their lives. This wasn't the best demo, but I wanted to show 
thai a QRP station (at the other end) was making it. In the end, he was doing better than 
I with my big- gun 50 watts. His 4 watts started out real well. So 1 was concentrating so 
closely on this that the copy on the second pane which had been from the 1 4,07 J marker 
got away. The larle triangle at that frequency indicates where the lower (2nd) pane 
would he printing copy from. The upper pane frequency indicator has a little flag at- 
tached and is just to the right of 14.070. Left button snaps the pointer with the flag to the 
point in the waterfall where you spot a signal. Right mouse button does the same for the 
triangle indicator. The Help file is a wonder for clarity and information. Just about any 
reasonable question is answered so you can understand what you need to do. The mac- 
ros, 24 of them, are easily edited and this is explained well. There is also sufficient infor- 
mation for transferring your mini- log info to your regular togging program if you desire. 
You will find just about everything you need short of a transceiver and an antenna to get 
you going in PSK3J. Go for it! 



up a PTT circuit (just like the one I use). It 
is thorough but not overkill. There is every- 
thing you need to get you going in PSK3L 

Plus, if you don't wish to be bothered with 
the home-brew method of cabling and 
tweaking, the DigiPan Web site shows a rea- 
sonably priced interface that could save you 
a lot of steps. I haven't spoken with anyone 
using this setup as of this writing, but it is a 
good premise, an easy way to skip some 
tedium. 

As many of you know, the author of this 
program, Nick, also writes MixW, a much 
more intense effort- MixW, in addition to 
doing a good job on PSK3I, gets you into 
RTTY, packet, CW, and a few experimental 
modes, plus you can copy Pactor and 
Hellschreiber. There is a version 2 of MixW 
being awaited by those of us who see the 
fruits of Nick's efforts. I hope it works as 
well as this latest DigiPan. You can get a 
free demo of MixW by following the URL 
listed in Table 1. 

Win Warbler fans will be pleased lo know 



Dave is still tweaking that program. I re- 
ceived an E-mail notice the other day that 
he had added a bit of clarity to the water- 
fall. 1 had heard a few complaints on the 
subject, so I downloaded the latest update, 
and it looks very good. The latest update 
when I started this paragraph was version 
1.89. 1 just checked again and it is version 
1.90. Where the technology goes by the time 
you read this, I cannot predict. It all moves 
very fast. 

Better news yet, the Web site where you 
would normally download the Win Warbler 
software along with other of Dave's many 
creations contains instructions about getting 
and installing the updates. I did not realize 
this and was several updates behind. Of 
course, not knowing any better, it was 
working just fine. (Ignorance is bliss.) 

1 also received a message that the 
Zakanaka first version was ready for down- 
load. That ts a fascinating project, but I ran 
into complications that thwarted the actual 
viewing. Some strange little giitch prevented 



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me from getting a complete download of 
the file. 

"So," thought I, "I will fix this," A friend 
had informed me he had overcome some 
download problems by replacing his copy 
of Netscape 4.7, the one I am using, with 
the new version 6. Then, for some reason 
on that day, I even had a problem down- 
loading from Netscape. 

The next day, the download from 
Netscape came off like a champ. The "path" 
must have improved, things are bound to 
look up. It was entertaining, to say the least, 
watching the new version of Netscape in- 
stall itself as it was downloading. Quite a 
marvel in programming, I was thinking. 

Then began the agony of watching this 

old 120 MHz computer crawl through the 

paces trying to sort out all the baggage in 

73 Amateur Radio Today * March 200t 51 



the new Netscape package. That is die nic- 
est way to relate my thoughts. But I per- 
sisted and attempted the Zakanaka 
download with the new "hot setup." Worked 
better, but not good enuugh. Never made it. 
A little window came up and said the down- 
load was complete when I knew it was about 
25^ short. 

Oh well, what is left is to uninstall this 
fat new Netscape and watch for new oppor- 
tunities to see the Tabled Zakanaka in ac- 
tion. The lesson in all this is that there are 
many programs being written that will only 
run on very high end, one gigahertz ma* 
chines, I am getting a little dismayed. I don't 
see any reasoning for this trend. But I am 



not in the business of marketing the Internet, 
any of the browsers or the latest computers, 

I merely try to find ways for you to have 
fun with your computers which, in some 
cases, are not as speedy as the one I am sil- 
ting in front of at this moment, I figure if 
the lash-ups I find will run on this, they will 
probably perform well on your computers 
in your shacks, 

Just as a little aside, but on the same sub- 
ject a while back someone suggested one 
of the freebic virus scan programs. 1 down- 
loaded it, installed it and that one apparently 
checked the system continuously. The rea- 
son I drew that conclusion was the computer 
was in a perpetual state of slowness, I guess 



1 

Source for: 


Web address (URL): 


Mix W Soundcard program for P5K31 , RTTY, 
n&w modes. WTTY. FSK31 . more 


http :/rtav ,kie v . u a/ -nlck/my_ham_soft. htm 
http://users. nats.com t -jatf e jinvmixwpa ge htm 


MMTTY New RTTY soundcard freeware plus 
links to other software 


http://w ww . oeodties- co m/m mtty_rtjy/ 


TaieTTY — Sound card RTTY v/t PSK31 


www.dxsofLcom/mitrtty , htm 


Pasokon SSTV programs & hardware 


www. uitran et com/*' sst v/lite . htm 1 


PSK31 — Free — and much PSK info 


http: j'/ai ntel bi . enu esrps k 3 1 html 


Interface for digital - tigs to computers 


www . westmourrtajn rat*o,com.1=l iGbi aster him 


interface info for 01 Y (IgftaJ hams 


www.qsl net wm2u interface html 


WmWerbtef info end free downtoad 


www.qsl net wmwarhter r 


MFSK — related Tech inlo — bow rt works 


www.qsf net/zllbpu 


Throb — New — tots ot info 


www Isea r, freeseAfe.co.uk 
www btinternei.com/-g3vfp/ 


Site wjth links to PSK31 and Logger 7, also 
Zakanaka 


www.geocitias.com/kc4elcV 


PSKGNR — Front end for PSK31 


www al- William s . com/wd5g n r/p skgnr. htm 


Digipan — PSK 31 — easy lo use — new version 

1.5 


h ttp: 1 'members home com/hteller/cflgipan^ 


TAPR — Lots ol info 


www.tapr.org 


TNG to radio wiring help 


http^/freeweb pdq net medcalf 2tx 


ChromaPtX end ChromaSound DSP software 


www.siliconpixels.com 


Time wave DSP & AEA (prev ) products 


www time wave com 


Auto tuner and other kits 


www ldgelectronics.com 


XPWare — TNC software with sampte DL 


www . goodn et . com,' - gjohnsorv 


RCKRtty Windows program with free DL 


hup: //www . rckrtty . do/ 


HF serial modem plans 8. RTTY & Pactor 


http;//home. alt . ne If- k7szl/ 


SV2AGW free Win95 programs 


www. raa g . org, mde x 1 . htm 


Source for BayPac BP-2M & APRS 


www.ligeil ronics. com. J 


BayCom — German site 


wwwijaycom.de/ 


BavGom 1 .5 and Manual. 7ip in EngHh 


wwwes wvu edu -acm gopher Software, baycom/ 


Inn Visual Communication Assn. — nonprofit 
org. dedicated to SSTV 


WWW.mmdsprin9.COnV- SStV 1 ' 


Creative Services Software 


www.cssincorp.com 


Hellschrerber & MTG3 & Stream & scope 


www , free web org/vari e/oin opo/t zabl y /in de « htm 



Table L The Infamous Chart — Almost everything ,., updated monthly. 
52 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



it too, would be a good program for the new- 
est fastest processor. Another uninstalL 
What 1 am saying is there is still a lot of 

life left in these machines that are a few 
years into obsolescence. You do have to use 
the correct software. You can have a ball 
with PSK31, RTTY, MFSK 16, SSTV, and 
most any new mode that is going to pop up 
with out shelling out for a new computer or 
other expensive hardware. 

That is one of the factors that has always 
brought people to this hobby. I hear of loud- 
signal SSB and CW contest stations cost- 
ing as much as a fancy house. And that is 
okay by me, everyone should have the 
choice to exercise that option. We can all 
coexist at whatever level we prefer. 

Lately, I have worked several stations who 
were using 2 to 5 watts output on PSK3L 
One of them, I understood, was using one 
of the little QRP transect vers that costs less 
than $200, Couple that wiih a low -buck 
laptop and, if the laptop is a bit ancient, use 
the G3PLX software for PSK31. You can 
get versions to run in DOS or Windows 3,h 
Talk about using otd tech. 

A little power from a cigarette lighter 
socket alongside the road and you can have 
a small and very portable digital station that 
will work the same size world as the big- 
gun DX stations I was just mentioning. You 
may just not do it quite as quickly. It is a 
little like licking the ice cream cone rather 
than wolfing it down. The pleasure lasts 
longer and sometimes the taste is sweeter. 

Another program I have let slip through 
the cracks is Throb. This is a creation of 
Lionel Sear G3PPTand is showing a lot of 
promise. Ft is reported, as was intended, to 
have superior throughput when the going 
gets rough, 

I had downloaded an earlier version a 
few months ago and did not have much luck 
getting it comfortable in this system. At the 
time, there were too many unanswered 
questions. 

Due lo a bit of prodding, I downloaded 
the version 2.5, installed it, and carefully 
read the instructions. 1 wanted a success 
story to report. It worked. The only thing 
that did not cooperate was the PTT. And 
that, I am sure, can be easily explained. That 
I can work around, 

I was finally able to hear the transmitted 
signal and even sent a series of CQs the 
other evening, I didn't really expect a re- 
ply, but ii was fun to just see that here was 
this new mode working as expected. I had 
hams telling me for about a month that their 
copy worked, I am glad I went back and 
gave it another try. 

Continued on page 59 



By Eric Shalkhausser W9CI, SK 



The History of Ham Radio 



Part 4: The early 1920s. 



The early days of radio embraced an era filled with gusto ventures and exciting stories, 
true tales from yesteryear we proudly relate to you through this "History of Ham 
Radio" series. It is our sincere wish that you remember these stories and pass them on 
to future generations later in time — with a similar "pass it on down" stipulation. 
Through our joint efforts, amateur radio's legacy will live forever. This month, in Part 
IV, we go back to the days of spark gaps and ozone in the shack. 



During 1921, for sending iheir 
signals, amateurs were still 
thinking in terms of spark 

transmitters. The vacuum tube, as a 
simple three-element detector, was be- 
ing advertised prominently and illus- 
trated profusely in all the wireless 
literature. Not until the VT-L 20], 
2G2 h and other tubes came along could 
much conversion from spark transmit- 
ters take place. It was well into the 
1921-1922 period that this happened, 
with the realization that wavelengths 
below 200 meters were of consider- 
ably more advantage for DX and better 
tuning characteristics than those at 200 
meters and above. 

While in the Signal Corps Officers* 
Training Camp in College Park MD in 
1918, I saw and operated the first 
three-tube transmitter. It was similar in 
appearance to the first three-tube 
DeForest set that was extensively ad- 
vertised in radio periodicals in 1921, It 
came equipped with Western Electric 
VT-1 tubes. 

Reprinted from 73 Amateur Radio, July 
1977, where this was originally re- 
printed from QCC News, a publication 
of the Chicago Area Chapter of the 
QCWA. 



Construction articles appeared monthly 
in the 1 920 and 1 92 1 magazines. These 
were simple circuit diagrams showing 
applications. The Fessenden, the Mar- 
coni, the Teleftinken, the Colpitis and 
many others were displayed. The radio 
amateur was doing a lot of experiment- 
ing in adapting this new device to all 
sorts of circuit layouts with the goal 



of improving the reception and trans- 
mission of signals. 

Amateurs and commercial interests 
devised all sorts of receiving circuit 
combinations under such names as the 
iwarrodyne, the ampUdyne, the Rob- 
erts, the Cockaday, etc. One must re- 
member that radio broadcasting had its 
real beginning in earnest right alter 




Photo A, Peoria Radio Sales Co., 1923-1924. 



73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 53 



World War I, and the genera] public 
became all agog over this new mysteri- 
ous phenomenon entering their homes. 
Hearing strange voices and music out 
of nowhere ... through earphones ... 
without wires ... It was unbelievable! 

From now on, the ham was no longer 
alone with his dots and dashes in his 
little cubicle, carrying on his own brand 
of mysterious private conversation. 

Serious consideration was being given 
by the amateurs to the possibility of 
making improvements in signal recep- 
tion by adding several stages of tube 
amplification to the detector The single 
crystal detector and the old coherer 



could now be permanently replaced 
and abandoned. Those weak and often 
inaudible signals could now be picked 
out with ease and at a greater distance. 
And so, with the discovery of the re- 
generative circuit by Major Armstrong, 
the vacuum tube started to oscillate 
and gave signals a thousand-fold boost 
in strength. 

The vacuum tubes were not quite 
ready for transmission purposes. Their 
lack of ruggedness, their size, their 
cost, and their scarcity held back adap- 
tation by the amateur fraternity of 
tubes for strong CW signal generators. 
After the war, and even into 1922, 



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54 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



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amateurs who had served Uncle Sam 
w r ere still operating their spark trans- 
mitters. 

Many of us were familiar with either 
the Army Signal Corps or the Navy 
gear They all looked and operated 
alike. In the beginning of wireless ad- 
aptation to the armed services, very 
little innovation could be expected for 
field combat purposes. The quenched 
gap transmitter stood out as a most re- 
liable unit. To the ham this was proven 
equipment. True, it operated in many 
instances from a 500 cycle source of 
power, but it w r as regarded as a de- 
pendable unit to cover fairly long dis- 
tances and was used by commercial 
companies in the field. It was 
semiportable when loaded on a horse, 
a mule, or a two-wheeled cart. 

The returning amateur was trained in 
the use of such transmitting equipment 
and took a fancv to the unit He was 
very familiar with its performance, 
knew how to operate it, and had practi- 
cal knowledge of its capabilities and 
application. During his period of ser- 
vice he was always thinking in terms 
of adapting it to his own use if and 
when he got back home. The one and 
only drawback was the 500 cycle 
power input. Replacing the quenched 
gap in the circuit proved a minor draw- 
back. 

When we examine the spark gap cir- 
cuit used in all stations as illustrated 
and described in the literature of the 
early 1920s, it can be said that it was 
really quite simple and direct, and not 
difficult to understand in operation and 
performance. 

The fc 'spark-gap ham 1 ' preferred to 
build his own condenser. He would use 
glass plates, mostly 8 tr x 10 n in size, 
obtained from a photographer who 
was ready to discard them. (Exposures 
were made on glass plates "in them 
olden days.") These were covered, 
both sides, with tin or aluminum foil or 
other thin metal sheets. Tobacco 
pouches were often sources of foil. 
Enough plates were coated so that the 
assembled condenser gave a value of 
.01 -.01 2 |iE To make sure that the unit 
could withstand potential surges as 
high as 25,000 volts, four of these sec- 
tions were connected in series-parallel. 




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making the capacitance still the con-cct 
value, approximately 0.01 p.F. The 
whole thing was immersed in oil. Not 
to do so caused corona discharges 
around the edges. Being well-soaked 
made them stand up much better under 
the high potentials. Even then, they 
punctured unexpectedly! 

The high potential was quite danger- 
ous around the place. It was important 
that the condenser box be surrounded 
by a protective wall and openly 
marked: DANGER — HIGH VOIX 
AGE — KEEP YOUR DISTANCE! 

The discharge gap in the circuit is in 
series with the primary spiral induc- 
tance, usually made of flat-wound 
brass or copper ribbon. This was 
known as the oscillation transformer. 



Every time the key in the low voltage 
primary circuit was closed, the 
charged condenser let loose for the 
shortest fraction of a second, in rapid 
fire, and discharged across the spark 
gap. On discharge, the energy surged 
around the helical coil, and, in turn, the 
secondary coil inductively coupled to 
the primary received a burst of electro- 
magnetic energy. This in turn sent a 
damped wave signal out into the ether 
by way of the antenna configuration. A 
hot wire ammeter in series with the an- 
tenna to ground connection indicated 
the amount of current being emitted. A 
fuse block in the main power line pro- 
vided protection against overloads. 

Although the circuit looked quite 
simple, we amateurs had other problems 



to contend with in meeting the 200 
meter (or less) wavelength require- 
ments. The condenser design value 
had to stay within the above stated (JtF 
limits. I will not attempt to delve into 
the mathematical equations to prove 
the point. Remember that we had a 
wrong concept of wavelength versus 
distance in those days. 

Some amateurs were in a position to 
obtain 500 cycle power generators. 
Many signals could be heard on the air 
using such units. The signal coming 
from a 500 cycle source had a distinct 
tone quality. It was music to many an 
ear. 

By way of interest, here is a statement 
which appeared in Radio Amateur Mews 
in 1920: 

"Surely the US government is not 
imposing upon the American amateur 
when he limits the operating wave- 
length of your transmitter to 200 meters. 
Contrast this law to that of Canada, 
where the limit is placed at 50 meters. 
As a Canadian amateur recently re- 
marked, with this short wave we may 
consider ourselves fortunate indeed to 
cover the extraordinary distance of one 
mile. As for democratic England, the 
would-be amateur is simply out of 
luck, for no license or permission is at 
present even obtainable under any con- 
dition- From the foregoing, we may 
therefore deduce the timely moral; Keep 
your transmitter on the lawful side of 
200 meters. u 

The amateurs up to now had really 
not discovered the potentially great 
advantage of the shorter wavelengths. 

The rotary gap caused havoc on 
manv occasions, since the studs had a 
tendency to become pitted after a short 
time of operation unless constructed of 
stuff that withstood the constant arcing 
in an open oxygen atmosphere. Of 
considerable help was an enclosed 
gap, sufficiently airtight to exclude 
oxygen to the extent possible. 

Much experimenting with the num- 
ber of studs on the rotor and the speed 
of the motor improved the efficiency 
of the system. An 1800 ipm synchro- 
nous motor and a wheel with twelve 
well-designed studs, made of material 
that could withstand pitting, usually 

Continued on page 61 
73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 55 



Dan Metzger K8JWR 
6960 Stream view Dr. 
Lambertville Ml 48144-9758 
[dmetzger@monroe.lib.mLus] 



Read All About It! 

Part 5 of good stuff from The Hertzian Herald. 



This time: Lessons from industry; Yours truly, RMS; and Who said that? 



— hen I was a very young en- 
gineer I look a job with an 
elevator company and was 
assigned to design several pieces of 
test equipment lor an electronic eleva- 
tor controller. I was given a four- 
month timetable. The senior engineer 
to whom I reported, Gary, was the guy 
who had designed the controller, and 
he was a whiz. It soon became appar- 
ent that he knew way more than I did 
about electronic systems — so much 
so that I began to feel a little interior. I 
would spend half an hour every morn- 
ing picking Gary's brain about how his 
system worked, and then work the rest 
of the day trying to devise circuits to run 
his system through its paces to verify 
that it was doing what he designed it 
to do. 

About midway through the project, 
Don, the vice president oi engineering, 
invited me to have lunch with him, I 
was young, as I said, and foolish, and I 
brash I y asked. "Don, why did you hire 
me? This test gear that Pm taking four 



Reprinted with permission from The 
Hertzian Herald newsletter of the 
Monroe County (MI) Radio Communi- 
cations Association (MCRCA). 
5fi 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



months to design — Gary could do 
that in two weeks." 

Don smiled and said, "I know that 
— but Gary is my system designer and 
he's working on our next new product. 
I can't spare him For two weeks. If I 
could find another genius like Gary, 
I'd hire him — but I can't, so I have to 
hire guys like you, Gary can't do it all 
alone, 1 ' 

Since then, I've met some very im- 
pressive engineers who have worked 
on the space shots, the stealth bomber, 
and the latest microchips. Id envy 
them for a while, but then Id remem- 
ber: "Gary can't do it all alone — they 
need me, too/* 

Once, at another company, my boss, 
Joe, came up just before quitting time 
and asked me to work up a calculation 
for the minimum beta required for the 
transistor in the "keyer" circuit of a 
display panel we were building. It 
seems that our shipment of transistors 
had gotten lost and we would have to 
shut down production the next day 
unless some more could be found. 

WelL the transistors had a guaran- 
teed beta of 80. and we had been test- 
ing them all, so we had a bin lull of 
rejects that fell below 80, If I could 



verify by calculation that the value ac- 
tually required in our system was, say. 
50 or above, Joe could have the rejects 
re tested and pick out those that were 
60 or above and keep the production 
line going. 

Next morning, while trying to wake 
up with my first cup of coffee, I started 
scribbling the calculations on a yellow 
pad. It came quite easily, and I had just 
gotten the number (46) when I heard 
Joe come up behind me, "Got that beta 
minimum?" he asked. 

"Just got it," I said. "Let me recopy 
this in zood form and we can have it 
out on an ECO (Engineering Chansc 
Order) in half an hour," 

"No time for that," he said. "I'll jusl 
photocopy this and attach it to the 
ECO form." And with that he urahhed 




Fig. 1 An example using a 10 V DC ptthe 
with a 10% duty cycle, applied to a f-ohm 
resistor. 



my coffee-stained scribble sheet and 
had it sent all over the plant with my 
name on it 

Since then, I don't make so much as 
a grocery list unless I do it neatly and 
in engineering form. And neither do I let 
my students get by with saying, 'This is 
just my scribble sheet; I'll recopy it 
neatly later." 

Yours truly, RMS 

This time, let's discuss the mysteri- 
ous letters "RMS." RMS is a way of 
measuring AC voltages and currents so 
that when you do Ohm's Law (P = V 2 / 
R or P = PR) on a resistive circuit, you 
get the same results as with DC. 
Briefly, RMS means "equivalent to 
DC" The letters R-M-S stand for a 
mathematical technique in which you 
take the Root of the Mean of the 
Square. Fig* 1 shows an example using 
a 10 V DC pulse with a 10% duty 
cycle, applied to a 1-ohm resistor. 

Square: During the 1 ms on time, 
power is V 2 /R = 10-/1 = 100 W. During 
the off time, power is zero. 

Mean: Average (mean) power is on- 
time power times the duty cycle: P av = 
100 Wx 10%=10W. 

Root: The DC voltage that produces 

10 W in a 1_ ohm resistor is 

V = VPR = VlOxl = 3. 16 V. The pulse 
wave has an RMS value of 3.16 V. 
Note that RMS is not the same as aver- 
age. The average voltage of the pulse 
wave, above, is 1 V x 1 0%, or 1 jB V; 

To do the FMS technique on a sine 
wave, you have to slice the wave up 
into hundreds of time slots, square the 
voltage during each time slot to get 
hundreds of instantaneous powers, av- 
erage all the powers over a full cycle, 
and take the square root to find the DC 
equivalent voltage. A computer can 
perform the hundreds of calculations 
necessary easily. The mathematics of 
calculus can actually slice the wave 
into an infinite number of time slots, 
square them all, average them, and get 
the square root — all in one operation. 

The result, for a sine wave, is that a 
1.414 V peak sine wave has an RMS 
value of 1.000 V. (Interestingly, 1.414 
is the square root of 2 r ) Thus, for a sine 
wave, Vr = V 71.4114 and V . = 
1.414V 



rms 



RMS is the standard way of measur- 
ing AC, so the "120 V AC line" actu- 
ally has a peak voltage of 1.414 x 120 
= I70V. 

The average value of a sine wave is, 
of course, zero; the negative half 
cycles cancel the positives. But the ab- 
solute average value (without regard to 
sign) of a LOO V RMS sine wave is 
0.90 V. Ordinary AC meters (VQMs 
and inexpensive DVMs) respond to the 
absolute average value of the AC 
wave, and indicate 1.00/0.90 or 1.11 
times that value. For a sine wave, this 
turns out to be the RMS value. For AC 
waves that are not sine-shaped, the 
reading is quite meaningless. For our 
10 V, 10% pulse wave, the RMS value is 
3.16V and the average value is 1 .00 V, 
but the reading would be 1.1 1 V. 

TRMS meters are available (for a 
price) that will give the True RMS 
value of a non-sine wave, but read the 
specs closely. If the TRMS meter has a 
low- frequency cutoff, it will screen off 
any DC before taking the measure- 
ment. On such a meter, our pulse wave 
would read 3,00 V, not the correct 
value of 3.16 V. 

Some final notes: (1) When you use 
RMS voltage or current to calculate 
the power in a resistor, you get average 
power. There is no such thing as RMS 
power. (2) You can use peak voltage to 



calculate instantaneous peak power, if 
that's really what you want — but this 
is not standard, and not "equivalent to 
DC." Unscrupulous stereo-amp manu- 
facturers used to advertise "peak 
power" until the FTC shut them down. 
A few even calculated something they 
cal led "peak-to-peak power" — a total 
fraud — and advertised that to hapless 
customers. 

Who said that? (Answers at end) 

1. "Our inventions are but improved 
means to an unimproved end. We are 



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73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 57 



in great haste to construct a magnetic 
telegraph from Maine to Texas; but 
Maine and Texas, it may be, have noth- 
ing important to communicate. We are 
eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and 
bring the old world some weeks closer 
to the new; but perchance the first news 
that will leak through to ... America will 
be that the Princess Adelaide has the 
whooping cough." 

2 + "My dear, you fail to read the 
scale/ Coixect to tenths of a division./ 
For gentler trade, those eyes were made/ 
And not for methods of precision, " 

3. "I, too, am an amateur." 

4, "It ain't the things you don't know 
that get you into trouble. It's the things 
you know for sure — that ain't so/' 

Answers: 

L Henry David Thoreau wrote that 
in his essay 4t Walden ! * in about 1850, 
The first intercity telegraph line, from 
Washington DC to Baltimore, had been 
completed in 1844, The first success- 
ful "tunnel under the Atlantic" began 
operation in 1866. I often sigh and 
think of Thoreau's remark when a 
ham sends QRU TNX ES 73 on the 
second transmission. Nothing important 
to communicate. 

2. James Clerk Maxwell, in En- 
gland, penned those whimsical lines 
about female students in his physics 
classes — then called natural philoso- 
phy classes. By about 1864, Maxwell 
had devolved a set of 20 equations 
(later compacted to four) from which 
all of electrical and radio science can be 
derived. Yes, Ohm's Law, the capacitive- 
reactance formula, all the transmission- 
line and antenna formulas — all of them 
are implicit in the four equations of 
Maxwell. Among other things, Max- 
well's equations predicted the exist- 
ence of radio waves, Heinrich Hertz, in 
Germany, managed to generate these 
waves (wavelength about 6 meters) 
and send them across a room in 1888. 
Marconi, in Italy, read of Hertz's work, 
and the rest is well known to history. 
Aside from a stereotypically Victorian 
attitude on the "place" of women, Max- 
well's lines show that a towering math- 
ematical genius can have a touch ingly 
human side. 

3. Guglielmo Marconi said those dis- 
arming words to ARRL representative 
Paul Godley in 1921, when the latter 
58 73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 



had come to Great Britain to attempt 
the first reception of amateur signals 
across the Atlantic. (He was success- 
ful.) I take nothing away from the real 
achievements of Marconi — they were 
many and impressive. But the public ac- 
claim that was lavished on him was not 
accorded to others of equal accomplish- 
ment, because they were not "smooth 
operators " For example, Marconi's claim 
to have achieved trans- Atlantic commu- 
nication in 1901 was universally ac- 
cepted, even though he and his assistant 
were the only ones to hear the signals. 
And in 1912, he personally blocked 
news from the Titanic* s rescue ship be- 
cause he had made a lucrative deal with 
the New York Times for an exclusive 
story. But the public still lionized him. 

4. While not original with him, this 
was the favorite quote of Major Edwin 
Howard Armstrong, inventor of regen- 
eration (1912), the superheterodyne 
(1918), and EM radio (about 1935), 
The triode vacuum tube (1906) was 
"known" to be a little less sensitive 
and a lot more troublesome than the 
crystal detector until Armstrong 
showed what it could do in a feedback 
circuit. Heterodyning was known as a 
curiosity; "The Major" gave us the 
standard radio receiver circuit by het- 
erodyning to a super-audible fre- 
quency. FM had been "proven" by 
mathematics to have "no advantages 
whatever," but Armstrong refused to 
bet i eve it until he had tried it for him- 
self. Commenting on his inventive 
style, Armstrong said, "Inventions are 
not made by theoretical musings, but 
by jackassing storage batteries around 
the laboratory." Perhaps the day for 
that kind of stubbornness is over, but a 
part of me hopes that it is not. 



Build Yourself an NVIS 

continued from page 1 & 

References 

NVIS Communications, by David 
Firdler and Edward Farmer. Available 
for $14.00 from World Radio Books, 
RO. Box 189490, Sacramento CA 
95818. Excellent. 

"NVIS Antennas," by Edward Farmer 
AA6ZM, QST Magazine, January 1995. 



US Field Manual 24-18, "Single 
Channel Communications Techniques," 
Has a section on NVIS antennas. 

Net sources 

NVIS Antenna Information {excel- 
lent Web site for NVIS systems): 
fwww.tactical-link.com]. 

Construction of an NVIS Antenna, 
by Dr. Carl O. Jelinek: [www.qsl.net/ 
vcars/carl/nvis.htmj, 

NVIS community at onclist.com: [www. 
onclist.com/community/nvis]. 



QRP Drives Ham Nuts 

continued from page 30 

NN1G, 80 East Robbing Avenue, 
Newington CT 06 J 11, |htlp://www. 
smaIIwonderlabs.com/] . 

Solid State Design for the Radio 
Amateur, Wes Hay ward and Doug 
DeMaw, ARRL, 3rd printing, 1995; 
ISBN 08725-90402. 

WIFB's Design Notebook, ARRL, 
1st Ed., 2nd printing, 1994. ISBN: 
08725*93207. 

WIFB's QRP Notebook Doug 
DeMaw, ARRL, 2nd Edition, 1991, 
ISBN: 08725-90348. 



Calendar Euents 

continued from page 37 

its 23rd annual Hamfest/Computerfest on 
March 25th, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at Madison High 
School on North Ridge Rd, New and used 
amateur radio, computer, and other types of 
electronic equipment will be featured. VE 
exams will be held for those interested in 
earning an amateur radio license. Admission 
$5. 6 ft. tables $8 each, 8 ft tables $10 each. 
Call Roxanne at (440) 257-0024 to make table 
reservations- 

MONROE V1LLE, PA The Two Rivers ARC, Inc. 
of Greenock PA will hold their 29th annual 
Hamfest Computer Fair 8:30 a.m -3 p.m. at 
the Palace Inn in Monroeville PA h {intersection 
of Routes 22 and 48 r at turnpike). Vendor setup 
6 a.m.-8:30 a.m. The registration deadline is 
March 9th, A confirmation will be sent upon 
receipt of payment, 6 ft tables including 1 chair, 
$20 each, includes one vendor admission per 
table, 1 1 5/60 outlets are $1 each. Additional 
vendor passes are $5 each. Vendors using 
electrical outlets are responsible for providing 
multiple breakout strips or extension cords if 
needed. Food may NOT be sold by vendors, 



Make checks payable to Two Rivers Amateur 
Radio Club, Inc. and mail to Two Rivers 
Amateur Radio Club, inc., Roxane Gaal, 
Hamfest Coordinator, 312 Lawrence Ave., N. 
Versailles PA 15137. Tel, (412) 823-6613; or 
E-mail [gaai @pgh<net]. 

MARCH 31 

WATERFORD, CT The Radio Amateur 
Society of Norwich CT will hold their 31 st Ham 
Radio Auction at the Waterford Senior Center 
on Rt. 85, starting at 10 a.m. Setup at 9 a.m. 
From Hartford, take Rt 2 South to Rt. 1 1 to Rt 
85 South. From the Shoreline, take Rt. 95 to 
Rt, 85 North. Talk-in on 146 + 730(-)> Bring your 
gear to sell (10% commission to RASON). Free 
admission, free parking. Contact Mark KE1IU 
at (860) 536-9633; or see the RASON Web 
page at [wwwjason.org]. 

APRIL 8 

STOUGHTON, Wl The Madison Area 
Repeater Assn, will host the "Madison 
Swapfesf on April 8th at Mandt Community 
Center, Stoughton Junior Fair Grounds, South 
Fourth St., Stoughton Wl. Free parking. Doors 
open at 8 a.m. Talk-in on 147.15. Tickets $4 in 
advance or $5 at the door. Tables $12— $1 5 
each. Contact Madison Area Repeater Assn., 
P.O. BOX8890, Madison Wi 53708-8890. Tel. 
(608) 245-8890. Web site [http://www.qsi.net/ 
mar a/}. 

SPECIAL EVENTS, ETC. 

MARCH 17 

MACON, GA The Macon ARC will operate 
W4BKM 1500-2200 UTCon Saturday, March 
17th, at the 19th annual Cherry Blossom 
Festival in Macon. Phone 1 4.240, 21 .335 f and 
28.390. For a certificate, send QSL and a 9 x 
12 SASE to Macon ARC, P.O. Box 4862, 
Macon GA 31208 USA. 



On the Go 

continued from page 38 

When signals bounce, there are many fac- 
tors that determine where they can be re- 
ceived and no guarantees that both signals 
will travel the same path. 

I heard a Canadian station check if the 
frequency was in use. I heard no other sta- 
tion on the frequency and apparently nei- 
ther did he. He then began to call CQ and 
the response was immediate and brutal. As 
soon as he unkeyed the microphone he re- 
ceived a broadside from a number of state- 
side stations informing him that he was loo 
near an ongoing QSO. The Canadian ham 
replied stating that he could hear a station but 
that it was too weak to copy. Thai evidently 



offended the stateside operators and they 
expressed their opinions quite freely. I 
decided to switch the rig off. 

Notice that 1 have referred to these indi- 
viduals as "operators" rather than hams. I 
feel that a ham sets and maintains certain 
standards and takes pride in his operating 
ability, his equipment, and himself. We used 
to have a name for these other operators. 
We used to call them lids. By whatever 
name, there seem to be a number of them 
out there. 

But most hams are truly cul from a spe- 
cial bolt of cloth. I arrived in Omaha and 
set about concentrating on my new job, my 
temporary living arrangements and such, 
and haven't had much time to operate. When 
I have, though, Fve had some great chats 
with ihe folks on the local repealers who 
welcomed me. filled me in on the various 
repeaters, where they were, how they were 
linked and which ones would be best for 
use with an HT from my temporary QTH. 
I was invited to their weekly informal 
get-together. 

What a difference! While I have focused 
on those whose operating practices were 
marginal, there are a lot of great folks on 
the band. To those, 1 say "thank you 11 for 
making a long trip more pleasant! 



Homing In 

continued from page 42 

Resources 

Hamtronics, Inc. 

65 -D Moul Road, 

Hilton NY 14468-9535 

(716)392-9430 

[http://www.hamtronics.com] 

PicCon Transmitter Controller 
Byon Garrabrant N6BG 
8128KokomaDr. 
Las Vegas NV 89128 
rhttp://www.byonics,com/piccon/ 
index.html] 

Montreal Fox Controller 

Plans in "Homing In" for April 1998 

[http://members.aoLcom/joekOov/ 

mfcupdate.html] 

Airtek Engineering 

Ken Bauer KB6 r tTS 

2306 Turquoise Circle 

Chino Hills CA 91709 

(909) 393-9889 

[KenFl A@worldnet.att.net] 



Magnum Telemetry 

312 W. Queen St. 

P.O. Box 1060 

Grifton NC 28530 

(252)524-5391 

|http://www. magnum telemetry, com] 

RFID Systems Page 
[hltp://www.cwt. vt.edu/ faq/rfid.htm] 



The Digital Port 

continued front page 52 

I found several sites with the 2.5 down- 
load available. I have placed two of them in 
The Chart, and you will find there is a 
wealth of information and other software 
available al these URLs. Almost forgot to 
include one of the most important bits of 
info. One of the hangout frequencies for 
Throb is 28.080. After I learned that, I went 
there to monitor and found some MFSK16 
activity. No Throb but that is promising. 
Most likely a digital watering hole worth 
checking into frequently. 

We reported on ihe Stream software pack- 
age in January and I just noticed that ver- 
sion 0.86 is available already. I checked the 
one in the computer, working very well in- 
deed, and it is a lowly 0.83. I guess I just 
don'l know how to keep up. 

That's about it for this time around. Have 
fun. If you have questions or comments 
about this column. E-mail me [j heller® 
sierra.net]. I will gladly share what I know 
or find a resource for you. For now, 73, Jack 
KB7NG, 



WANTED 

Fun, easy to build projects 
for publication in 73. 

For more info, write to: 

Joyce Sawtelle, 
73 Amateur Radio Today, 

70 Hancock Road 
Peterborough NH 03458, 



SAVE 47%! 

on 12 months of 73 

Only $24.97 

Call 800-274-7373 



73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 59 



Propagation 



Jim Gray fl 

P.O. Box 22799 

Juneau AK 99802 



In Like a Lion 



Sunspot Cycle 23 peaking; it is very difficult to make accurate long-range solar predictions 
(this is being written at Christmastime), but Fm expecting intense activity for early March. DX 
conditions will probably not improve until the weekend of the 11 th, so the first 1 days might 
be a good opportunity to finish those lingering winter projects, do the spring cleaning, and 
(gasp!) file the tax returns. 



Solar activity should subside from the 11th to the 14th 
and provide the first good DXing in quite awhile- The 15th through 
the 25th look to be rather poor, and so may provide another chance to 
get away from the ham shack- A few quiet days should occur around 
die equinox, and a few more good days near the end of the month may 
provide the best DXing since the year began. 

On an optimistic note, springtime is historically good for 1 5 and 
20 meters and should yield some rare contacts, especially in Asia 
and die Indian Ocean. Also, be ready for those elusive Arctic and 
Antarctic contacts since the gray-line will extend over the poles 
this month. Long paths work best at sunset and short paths work 
best at sunrise. Good luck! 

Band by Band Summary 

10 and 12 meters 

Use these as daytime-only bands, Most openings will be to the 
east in the morning and to the south or west from noon onward. 
The strongest signals will typically come from stations located in 
Western Europe or Japan. Expect less utility from 10 and 12 meters 
as warmer weather arrives and the maximum usable frequencies 
(MUFs) decrease. Short-skip distances will be between 1 ,000 and 
2,500 miles. 



15 and 17 meters 






These are expected to be very good during the day and should 
even remain open into the evening at lower latitudes. Signals will 
peak toward the east in the morning, to the south around midday. 



March 2001 


SUN 


MON 


TUE 


WED 


THU 


FRI 


SAT 










1 P 


2 P 


3 F-P 


| 4 F-P 


5 P 


6 VP 


7 P 


8 P 


9 F-P 


10 F 


11 F-G 


12 F-G 


13G 


14G 


15 F 


16 P 


17 P 


18P 


19 F-P 


20 F 


21 F-G 


22 F-G 


23 P 


24P^F 


25 F-P 


26 F 


27 F-G 


28 G 


29 G 


30 F-P 


31 F-P 



EASTERN UNITED STATES TO: 

I ■i'-i-f it ,, , 


GMTii .00 Of- M OS 06" 10 12 16 18 20 22 


7T ■■•■".-!! 
America 


{15) 20 


(15) 20 


20 (40} 


(2040) 


X 


X 


X 


(10) 


Cto) 


(10-15) 


10 (17) 


12-20 


:South 
^rrericsi 


(1 7) SO 


20 (40) 


20 (40} 


(2040} 


X 


X 


X 


(10} 


{10} 


1(1045} 


1045 


10.(20) 


We-starn 
Europe 


(3040) 


(30-40} 


(30-40) 


(40) 


X 


X 


(15-20) 


(10-20} 


{10)17 


1 5-20 


ii&jEO 


(20) 


South on 
^Africa 


117)20 


(£040) 


$f) 


m 


! * 


X 


X 


X 


(10) 


10(1b) 


12 (17j 


(t5-20) 


Europe 


X 


{3040} 


(2040) 


(1 7-20) 


(20) 


X 


X 


{10-15} 


{15} 


(17-20J 


(20") 


(20) 


EaSI 


X 


(20) 


20 


(2040) 


(40) 


X 


X 


ft 


(1045) 


15 


(1 7-20) 


(20) 


India/ 
Pakistan 


{1 7-20} 


* 


X 


■: 


X 


X 


X 


(4547) 


X 


X 


X 


X 


^arfcaet/ 

.Jj*PHh 


{17-20} 


(20) 


X 


X 


X 


. J{ 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(15) 


South east 
iAsia 


(17-20) 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(17-20) 


(10-15) 


X 


X 


X 


X 


j Australia 


(15) 


{17-20) 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(2040) 


(20) 


(10) 


X 


X 


X 


Alaska 


{15) SO 


(20) 


(20-301 


#040) 


(40) 


X 


X 


X 


(15-20) 


(10-20) 


(10)17 


15-20 


■Hawaii 


{15)20 


20 


(2040) 


{20-m 


{40) 


X 


X 


.-: 


: 1 5 20.; 


(10-20) 


(10-30) 


15-20 


Western 
USA 


15-20 


20 (40) 


20 (40) 


(20) 10 


(3040) 


X 


X 


(10-20) 


10 (20) 


10 (20} 


10(20) 


{15)20 


CENTRAL UNITED STATES TO: 


CefiSral 

America 


{15-20} 


20 (40) 


20^40 


Z040 


(20-40) 


X 


(10-20) 


10-20 


10-20 


10(20) 


10(20) 


1O-20 


■South 
America 


{1 5) 20 


17-30 


20 (40) 


20(40) 


X 


X 


X 


(10-20} 


10 (20) 


10(15) 


{1G-20) 


12 (20) 


Western 
Europe 


(20} 


(40) 


140) 


X 

■ 


X 


X 


X 


(15} 


(15-17) 


(1 5-20) 


(1 7-20) 


(20} 


Souihem 
Africa 


20 


tm 


{20} 


(20) 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(10) 


(10-15) 


(10-17) 


( 1 5-20} 


-^i.f-rii 
burope 


(20} 


(20) 


* 


* 


X 


X 


X 


(15) 


(.1647) 


(17-20) 


(20) 


(20) 


MERDe 
East 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(15) 


(IS) 


(20) 


(20) 


India/ 
.Pakistan 


(17-20) 


(15-20) 


x 


X 


* 


X 


X 


(15-20) 


X 


X 


X 


X 


Far East/ 
Japan 


(17-2D) 


(20) 


X 


X 


X 


M 


X 


x 


X 


X 


X 


(15} 


Southeast 
Asia 


(15-20) 


X 


X 


y 


X 


X 


X 


(20) 


(10-20) 


X 


X 


X 


Australia 


(15-20) 


(20) 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(15-20) 


(15-20) 


15 


15 


15 {20) 


Alaska 


15-20 


{1 5) 20 


20 


20 (30) 


(3D40) 


(40) 


X 


X 


X 


{10-20) 


10-20 


1 {20) 


Hawaii 


15-20 


(15)20 


20 (10) 


(30-40) 


(40) 


> 


X 


X 


X 


110) 12 


1045 


(10) 17 . 


WESTERN UNITED STATES TO: 


C&niral 
America 


10-20 


15-20 


15-30 


(14} 40 


20-40 


{3040} 


X 


(1^-20) 


TO (20) 


10 (20) 


10 {20) 


1 o r^oi 


South 
America 


(10} 20 


(15} 20 


20(40} 


20 (40) 


X 


X 


X 


(10*20) 


10 (20) 


(10-15) 


10 (15) 


10{20) 


Wegt^m 
Europe 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(15-17) 


(15-17) 


(17-20) 


(17-20) 


Southern 
Africa 


(20) 


{20) 


(20) 


(20) 


(20) 


X 


X 


X 


x. 


(10-12) 


(12)17 


(15-20) 


Eastern 
Europe 


X 


x 


X 


(17-20) 


(17-20) 


X 


X 


1.1 Di 


(15) 


(15-17) 


(T7-20) 


(20) 


Middle 


X 


(20) 


(20) 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(15-17) 


(20) 


(20) 


{20) 


rndia 
Pakistan 


X 


i'/'2oy 


X 


x' 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(1&-17) 


X 


X 


X 


Fa i cast'' 
Japan 


10-30 


(20) 


v- 


X 


X 


(40} 


(40) 


X 


X 


X 


X 


(10-2O) 


Southeast 
Asia 


(10-15) 


(TQ-15J 


X 


X 


X 


X 


x 


X 


X 


(15*20) 


(15-20) 


(10-1.5J 


Australia 


(10-16) 


(15) 


(17-20) 


X 


X 


X 


x 


X 


(15;- 20 


(15-20) 


(15) 


(10) 


Ataska 


(10) 20 


flS) 30 


20 (40} 


(20} 40 


(3040) 


(40) 


(40) 


L4Q) 


X 


(10-15) 


10-15 


1Q-20 


Hawaii 


(15) 20 


20 


(20-40) 


(20) 40 


■ 3040) 


(40j 


X 


X 


X 


(10-gD) 


(10) 20 


15-20 


h astern 
USA 


15-20 


W(40) 


20(40} 


(20) 4Q 


(30-40) 


x 


X 


(10-20} 


10 (20) 


1 (20) 


10 (20) 


(1.5}'. 80" 



Table L Plain numerals indicate bands which should he workable 
on Fair to Good (F-G) and Good (G) days. Numbers in parenthe- 
ses indicate bands usually workable on Good (G) days only. Dual 
numbers indicate that the intervening hands should also be us- 
able. When one number appears in parentheses, that end of the 
range will probably be open on Good (G) days only 



60 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



and to the west in the late afternoon. Try 
the polar paths at local noon for brief open- 
ings into central and southern Asia. Short- 
skip can be expected to be about l t Q0Q 
miles. 

20 meters 

The best overall band, this will provide 
the most hours of HF operation. Expect 
openings to begin after sunrise and last well 
into the evening. Look for some exotic con- 
tacts between sunset and midnight as day 
breaks over Central Asia and the Indian 
Ocean. Short skip will average between 500 
and 2,500 miles. 

30 and 40 meters 

Best from late evening to sunrise. Activ- 
ity on these bands is certain to decline as 
warm weather arrives and atmospheric noise 
increases. Africa, the Middle East, and Asia 
should provide some opportunities for those 
hunting exotic contacts. Short skip will be 
less than 1,000 miles during the day arid 
greater than 750 miles at night. 



■ 



The History of Ham Radio 

continued from page 55 

provided the right kind of pitch and 
whine to satisfy the critical ham in his 
quest to excel on the air 

By the characteristic frequency over 
the air, most ham stations were recog- 
nized without the usual QTH report "I 
know the sound of his spark" was a 
common remark among hams. 

After a station had its mechanical 
problems fairly well under control, the 
problem of decrement of the signal 
emitted received considerable atten- 
tion. Specifications from the bureau in 
Washington decreed that the decre- 
ment could not, or should not, be 
higher than 0.2 when the energy was 
transferred to the antenna. Otherwise, 
the signal emitted would be unduly 
broad, with accompanying increased 
interference due to high damping. 

What was this decrement all about? 
The subject was discussed at great 
lengths. It took front and center atten- 
tion and was good for an argument 
anywhere, anytime. Decrement and how 
to meet its requirements waxed hot and 
furious from many podiums at conven- 
tions, Today you never hear the subject 
mentioned anymore. 



Decrement, logarithmic decrement: 
Nobody knew very much about the 
subject, even though the Department 
of Commerce issued their well-known 
Bureau of Standards book entitled Ra- 
dio Instruments and Measurements 
#74, on March 23, 1918, This gave 
technicians and engineers an in-depth 
documentation on the subject. Mr B, 
West ex-8KEZ discussed spark dis- 
chargers at the St Louis convention in 
1 920. In the course of his presentation, 
he was interrupted repeatedly by well- 
meaning listeners in the audience, as 
they confused the issue by introducing 
the "damping factor" and then wonder- 
ing what was meant by napierian. The 
confusion usually brought down the 
house, and the heated discussion ended 
in a draw. Not even well-meaning in- 
tellectual cowhands from the western 
ranches knew what to make of these 
arguments and decided to leave well 
enough alone when they got back to 
their radio shacks. 

So decrement, damping factor, im- 
pulse excitation, and increment — all 
these factors — were eventually solved 
by the usual "ovcr-the-ether-waves-re- 
porting" way — experimentally, with 
trial and error methods prevailing. It 
was understood that a low resistance 
(the lower the better) in the secondary 
discharge circuit gave a low decrement 
and allowed the energy to oscillate freely 
with consequent low heat loss. We sel- 
dom worried about impulse excitation 
anymore. 

Our problems were put away for a 
while until the next convention came 
along. This was to be the First Na- 
tional American Radio Relay League 
super meeting at the Edgewater Beach 
Hotel in Chicago, to be reviewed in the 
next chapter. 

We go back to our midnight operat- 
ing hours when all is quiet and serene 
about the house. The ham does not want 
disturbances to interfere with his con- 
centration on distant code from some 
far-off place. Besides, when the key is 
closed, the spark noise could disturb 
the neighbors, and any intruders into 
the privacy of the shack would be over- 
come by the ozone that often perme- 
ated the atmosphere. QRX 'til we meet 
later on, when fully recovered, in a fresh 
air environment 

To be continued. 



QRX 

continued from page 6 

as possible. The original "old-timers" and Elmers 
are gone, and consequently a part of ham radio 
slowly continues to fade. 

To help stop this attrition of information all 
radio communications enthusiasts are invited to 
join and contribute whatever information they 
have to this unique internet reflector. 

To subscribe to the Ham Radio History reflec- 
tor, simply send a blank E-mail to [ham-radio- 
subscribe® egroupsxorn], 

Thanks to HRHR, via Newsline, Bill Pasternak 
WA6fTF, editor. 



Cell Phones a Headache? 



Children who use mobile phones risk suffer- 
ing memory loss, sleeping disorders, and head- 
aches. So says British physicist Dr. Gerard 
Hyland in research published in the medical 
journal The Lancet 

In his article, Dr. Hyland raises new fears over 
radiation caused by mobile phones. He says that 
those under 1 8 years old, who represent a quar^ 
ter of Britain's 25 million mobiie users, are also 
more vulnerable because their immune systems 
are less robust. 

According to Dr. Hyland, radiation is known to 
affect brain rhythms and children are particularly 
vulnerable. Hyland says that if mobile phones 
were a type of food, they simply would not be 
licensed, because there is so much uncertainty 
surrounding their safety. 

Thanks to RF Safety News, via Newsline, Bill 
Pasternak WA6ITF, editor. 



Death On-line 



According to a spokesperson in the FCC Li- 
censing and Technical Analysis Branch in 
Gettysburg, the FCC now can accept a printed 
copy of information appearing on the Internet as 
adequate proof of death "provided the printout 
contains certain, verifiable, information. 11 The Li- 
censing Bureau also will accept a (1st — with 
supporting documentation — of multiple requests 
for cancellation of amateur licenses. 

According to information on the FCC's vanity 
Web site, [wwwJcc.govwtb/arnateur/vnityfaq. 
html], individuals can report the death of a lic- 
ensee by submitting a signed request for license 
grant cancellation accompanied by a copy of an 
obituary or death certificate to the Licensing 
Branch. 

The FCC says it's been able to match up the 
name, address, and birth date of the deceased 
included on some submittals it's received via the 
Ancestry.com site [http:www.ancestry.com] on 
the Internet. "The validity of these printouts as 
proof of death is equal to the same level of suffi- 
ciency as an obituary, in terms of reducing the 
risk of the inadvertent cancellation of a valid 
amateur callsign/' the FCC spokesperson said. 

Thanks to Jennifer Hagy N 1 TDY r via Newsline. 
Bill Pasternak WA 6ITF, editor. m 

73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 61 



NEUER SflV DIE 
continued from page 8 

No, this isn't ham radio 
sluff^ . but then, Fve heen 
asking you to get busy and 
write about any adventures 
the hobby has given you so 
I'd be able to use them in the 
magazine, and then publish 
them in a book to help clubs 
get youngsters interested in 
the hobby. 

We need kids. We need 'em 
desperately And what's hap- 
pened 10 our school sv stern is 
a big part of our problem in 
attracting 



Becoming What We Are 
by Robert Anton Wilson 

If you stroll through a large 
art museum, you will notice 
thai Van Gogh does not paint 
the same world as Rem- 
brandt, Picasso does not see 
Lhings the way Goya did, 
Georgia O'Keelfe doesn't much 
resemble Rivera. Salvador Dali 
looks like nobody hut him- 
self, and, in general, no 
world-class artist became a 
"classic" by doing what some- 
body else had already done or 
even what evervbodv else in 
his/her own era did. 

And in science, the names 
of Einstein, Dirac, the Curies, 
Bohr, Heisenbere, Selmicdmeer. 
John Bell, etc, live on be- 
cause none of them took 
Newton as Holy Gospel: They 
all made unique and unpre- 
dictable innovations in basic 
theory. 

And, in case vou think this 
applies only to "arts and sci- 
ences," consider the most 
successful people in industry. 
Henrv Ford did not gel rich 
copying Fulton's steamboat: 
he made a car so cheap that 
anybody could afford onQ. 

Howard Hughes produced 
movies that nobody else would 
have dared to attempt, and 
then went on to revolutionize 
the airline industrv Buck- 
minster Fuller did not copy 
the cubical form of previous 
architects, but invented the 
geodesic dome: al last count, 
over 300,000 of his buildings 
existed, making him the most 
visibly successful architect in 
history. Steve Wo/niak did 
not copy the computers of his 
day. hut invented one that 

62 73 Amateur Radio Today ■ March 2001 



even an "bloody eejit" (like 
me) could use (and even 
enjoy!). Etc. 

We all need constant reit- 
eration of these truisms be- 
cause we live in a world where 
a multitude of very powerful 
forces have worked upon us, 
from birth through school to 
work, attempting to suppress 
our individuality, our creativ- 
ity, and, above all, our curios- 
ity — in short, to destroy ev- 
ervthinu that encourages us to 
think for ourselves. 

Our parents wanted us to 
act like the other children in 
our neighborhood; ihev em- 
piratically did not want a boy 
or girl who seemed "weird" 
or "different" or (Heaven 
forfend! ) "too damned clever 
by far," 

Then we enter grade school, 
a fate worse than Death and 
Hell combined. Whether we 
land in a public school or a 
private religious school, we 
learn two basic lessons: (h 
there exists one correct answer 
for every question; and (2) 
education consists of memoriz- 
ing the one correct answer 
and regurgitating it on an 
"examination/' 

The same tactics continue 
through high school and, ex- 
cept in a few sciences, even 
to the university. 

All through this "educa- 
tion" we find ourselves bom- 
barded by organized religion. 
Most religions in this pari of 
the world also teach us "one 
correct answer/' which we 
should accept with blind faith: 
worse, they attempt to terror- 
ize us with threats of post- 
mortem roasting, toasting, and 
eharbroiling if we ever dare 
to think at all, at all. 

After 1 8 to 30+ years of all 
this, we enter the job market, 
and learn to become, or try to 
become, almost deaf, dumb, 
and blind, Wc must always 
tell our "superiors" what they 
want to hear, what suits their 
prejudices and/or their wish- 
ful fantasies. If we notice 
something thev don"t want to 
know about, we learn to keep 
our mouths shut. If we don't 
— "One more word. Bum- 
stead, and Ml fire you! r 

As my mahatmaguru JR. 
"Bob" Dobbs savs, "You 



know how dumb the average 



guy is? Well, mathematically, 
by definition, half of them are 
even dumber than that/* 

Hob" may have the aver- 
age confused with the me- 
dian, but otherwise he hit a 
bull's-eye. Half of the people 
you meet do indeed seem 

- 

dumber than a box of rocks: 
but they did not start out that 
way- Parents, peers, schools, 
churches, advertisers, and jobs 
made them that way. Every 
baby a? birth has a relent- 
lessly curious and experiment 
taJ temperament. It take^ the 
first third of our lives to de- 
stroy that curiosity and ex- 
perimental ism; but in most 
cases, we become placid parts 
of a docile herd. 

This human herd all started 
out as potential geniuses, be- 
fore the tacit conspiracy of 
social conformity blighted 
their brains. All of them can 
redeem that lost freedom, if 
they work at it hard enough, 

Fve worked at it for 50+ 
years now, and still find parts 
of me acting like a robot or a 
zombie on occasion. Learn- 
ing "how to become what vou 
are" (in Nietzsche s phrase \ 
takes a lifetime, but it still 
seems the besi game in town 

Wilson will be speaking at 
The Prophets Conference in 
New York City on May 18- 
20, 2001. For information 
check: [hltp://www.greatmys 
tery, org]. Or call toll-free 1- 
888-777-598 K 

The Secret Guide to Wis- 
dom is my effort to help 
people regain the freedom 
our schools have taken away 
from them. 

Gun Control 

Yes, kids shooting kids is 
terrible. Anyone shooting 
anyone sucks, In the case of 
kids, just as our doctors do 
their best to tackle the symp- 
toms caused by poisons and 
had nutrition with pills, shots, 
surgery, radiation, and so on, 
the media (and the unthinking 
public, unfortunately) want to 
try to keep guns out of the 
hands of people instead of 
eliminate what's been causing 
the problem. 

There have been any num- 
ber of attempts to control 
guns, but sadly, the gun nuts 



are right: When you outlaw 
guns, only the outlaws have 
guns. In every case where a 
community has confiscated 
the publics guns, there has 
been a substantial resulting 
increase in crime. 

If you were making your 
living as a burglar, would you 
rob houses in towns where 
you might be faced with an 
angry home owner with a 
shotgun, or would you head 
for a town where all of the 
guns had been confiscated? 

Last year, al a cost of over 
S500 million. Australia confis- 
cated over 600,000 firearms 
and crashed them. And that in- 
cluded some beautiful collec- 
tor's items. In the 12 months 
since then, homicides are up 
3,2%, muggings up 8.4%, and 
armed robberies up 44%, In the 
state of Victoria alone, homi- 
cides using guns are up 300%, 

Until the government con- 
fiscation of firearms, there 
had been a steady 25-year 
drop in homicides using guns. 

Our Universities 

Defenders of the American 
school system claim that our 
universities are among the 
highest-rated in the world, and 
that Americans regularly win 
a high percentage of Nobel 
Prizes. Yes, Americans did 
win the most Nobel Prizes last 
year, but none of the winners 
were born here, They were all 
naturalized citizens. 

Hmm, how come not one 
native American \yon a prize? 
For that matier, did vou know 
that less than half of the 
Ph.D.s in engineering and 
math are received by Ameri- 
cans? The fact is that young- 
sters educated in American 
schools and colleges just 
can't compete with the for- 
eign-educated students, As 
American public school test 
scores have plummeted, more 
and more foreign students 
have been displacing Ameri- 
cans in our top universities, 
and the worst declines have 
been in the most demanding 
subjects, such as science. 
We're training sociologists, 
when the world is demanding 
engineers, programmers, and 
scientists. 

Continued on page 64 




Here are some of my books which 
can chunge vour life (if you'll let 
'era). Ef the idea of being healthy, 
wealthy and wise interests you, start 
rending. Yes, you can he all that, but 
only when you know the secrets 
which I've spent a lifetime uncover- 
ing. 

'WtKfHe- 



Handbook This 
how to build or buy i $ 1 55 ) a 
Utile electrical gadget thai can help 
clean the blood of any virus, microbe, 
parasite, fungus or yeast. The process 
was discovered by scientists at the 
Albert Einstein Co liege of Medicine. 
quickly patented and hushed up. It's 
curing AIDS, hepatitis C, and a hunch 
of other serious illnesses, The circuit 
can he built for under. %20 I'roni the in- 
structions in the book. $IH (#01 ) 
The Secret Guide to Wisdom: This 
is a review of around a hu ndrt?K\ b< h >k v 
thai will help you change your life. No, 
1 don't sell these books. They're on a 
wide range of subjects and wilt help 
to make you a very interesting person. 
Wait* 11 you see some of the gems 
you've missed reading. S5 (#02) 
The Secret Guide to Wealth Jum a-- 
with health, you'll find ihai you have 
been brain washed by "the system" into 
a pattern of life that will keep you from 
ever making much money and having 
the freedom lo travel and do u hat you 
warn. 1 explain how anyone can get a 
dream job with no college, no risume. 
and even without any experience. I 
explain how you can get someone to 
happily pay you to learn whai you need 
to know to start your own business. $5 
(#03) 

The Secret Guide to Health: Yes, 
mere really is a secret to regaining your 
health and adding 30 to 60 years of 
healthy living to your life. 1Y& answer is 
simple, but it means making some dif- 
ficult lifestyle changes. Will you be 
skiing the slopes of Aspen with me 
when you're 90 or doddering around 
a nursing home? Or pushing up dai- 
sies? No, I'm not selling any health 
products. $5 (#04) 
M v WW 1 1 Su bin arin e Ad v en t u res : 

kr 

Yes, 1 spent from 1943- 1 1 )45 on a suk 
marine, right in the middle of the war 
with Japan. We almost got sunk several 
times, and twice I wa* in the rigfu place 
at the right time to save the boar 
What's it really like to be depth 
charged? And what's the daily life 
aboard a submarine like'. 1 How about 
the Amelia Earn art inside story ?If 
you're near Mobile, please visit the 
Drum. $5 4#10) 

Wayne's Caribbean Adventures; My 
super budget travel stories - where I 



visit the hams and scuba dive most of 
the islands of the Caribbean. You'll 
love the special I ku fare u Inch let me 
visit 11 countries in 21 days, diving 
all but one of the islands. Guadeloupe. 
where the hams kept me too busy with 
parties. S5<#1 2) 
Cold Fusion Overview: Thj\ is bnih 
a brief history of cold fusion, which I 
predict ^ ill be one of the largest in- 
dustries in the world in the 2 1st cen- 
tury, plus Lk simple explanation of how 
and why it works. This new field is 
going to generate a whole new hunch 
of billionaires, just as the personal 
computer industry did, $5 (#20) 
Cold Fusion Journal: The\ laughed 
when 1 predicted the PC industry 
growth in 1975. PCs are now the third 
largest tndustn in the u oifd. The cold 
fusion ground floor is still wide open, 
but then thai might mean giving up 
watching ball games. Sample: SK){#22). 
Julian Schwinger: A Nobel laureate's 
talk about cold fusion — continuing its 
validity $2 ( #24) 

Improving State Government: Here 
are 24 ways that slate governments can 
cut expenses enormously, while pro- 
viding far belter service. I explain how 
any government bureau or department 
can be gotten to cut it's expenses by at 
least 50% in three years and do it co- 
operatively and enthusiastically I ex- 
plain how, by applying a new r technol- 
ogy the stale can make it possible to 
provide all needed services without 
having to lew anx taxes at all! Read 
the book, run for your legislature, and 
let's get busy making this country work 
like its founders wanted it to. Don't 
leave this lor "someone else" to do. $5 
(#30) 

Mankind's Extinction Predictions: If 
any one of the experts who have writ 
ten books predicting a soon-to-come 
catastrophe which will virtually wipe 
most of us out are right, we're in 
trouble In ihiN book I explain about 
the various disaster scenarios, like 
Nostradamus, who says the poles will 
soon shift ius they have several times in 
the past), wiping out 97*£ of mankind 
Okay so hes made a long string of past 
lucky guesses. The worst part of these 
predictions is the accuracy record of 
some of the experts. Will it be a pole 
shifl, a new ice age, a massive solar 
flare, a comet or asteroid, a bioterroiist 
attack? I'm getting ready, how about 
you? $5 (#31) 

Moon doggie: After reading Rene's 
book, NASA Mooned America* J read 
everything 1 could lind on our Moon 
landings. 1 watched the videos, looked 
carefully at the photos, read the 
astronaut's biographies^ and talked 
with some of my readers who worked 
for NASA. This book cites 25 good 
reasons I believe the whole Apollo pro* 
gram had lo have been faked. $5 (#32 ) 
Classical Music Guide: A list of 100 
CDs which will provide you with an 
outstanding collection of the finest 
classical music ever written. This is 



what yon need to help you reduce 
stress. Classical music also raises 
youngster's IQs t helps plants grow 
faster, and will make you healthier, Just 
waif U you hear some of Gotschalk's fabu- 
lous music ! 55 (#33) 
The Radar Coverup: Is police radar 
dangerous? Ross Adey K6UL a world 
authority, confirms the dangers of ra- 
dio and magnetic fields. $3 (#34) 
Three Gat to In Iks: A prize- winning 
teacher explains what's wrong with 
American schools and why our kids are 
not being educated Why are Swedish 
youngsiers, who start school at 7 years 
of age. leaving our kids in die dust? 
Our kids are intentionally being 
dumbed down by our school system 
— die least effective and most expen- 
sive in the world. $5 I #351 
Aspartame: a k a NuiraSweet. the 
stuff in diet drinks, etc.* can cause all 
kinds of serious health problems. Mul- 
tiple sclerosis, for one. Read all about 
iL two pamphlets for a buck, f #38) 
One Huur CVV: Using this sneaky 
booklet even you can learn the Morse 
Code in one hour and pass that dumb 
5 w pin HF entry lest, $5 (#40) 
Code Tape (T5): This tape will teach 
you the letters, numbers and punctuation 
you need to know if you are going on to 
kam the code ai t3or20wpm.S5(#41) 
Code Tape (T13): Once you know the 
code for the letters (#41) you can go 
immediately to copying 13 wpm (us- 
ing my system J. This should only take 
a couple of days. S5 (#42) 
Code Tape (T20): Or, you can start 
right out at 20 w pm and master it in a 
weekend $5 <#43> 

Wayne Lin-Day ton Talk: This is a 90- 
minute tape of the talk Fd have given 
at the Dayton, if invited. S5 (#50) 
Wayne Tampa Talk: This is the talk 1 
gave at the lam pa Global Sciences 
conference- where I cover amateur 
radio, cold fusion, health, books you 
should read, and so on. $5 (#51 ) 
SI Million Sales Video: The secret of 
how you can generate an extra mil- 
lion dollars in sales just by using PR, This 
will be one of the best investments you 
or vow business will ever make S40 (#52 ) 



Reprints of My Editorials from 73. 
Very few things in this world are as we've 
been taught and as they appear. I blow 
the whistle on die scams around us* such 
as the health care, t kit school system. , our 
r i k iney. the drug war, a college education, 
sugar, the rood giants, our unhealthy food, 
fluoride*. EMFs. NuiraSweet. etc. 
1996 Editorials; 120 pages, 100 choice 
editorials. S 10 (#72) 
I ¥97 Editorials: 148 fun-packed pages. 
216 editorials. $10 (#74) 

1998 Editorials: 168 pages that'll give 
you lots of controversial things to talk 
about on the air. $ 10 (#75) 

1999 Editorials: l?2 pages of ideas, 
book reviews, health, education, and 
anything else I think you ought to 
know about, SIG<#76] 

2000 Editorials: hi the works. 
Silver Wire: With two 3-in> pieces of 
heavy pure siherwire ■ three 9 V hat 
teries you can make a thousand dol- 
lars' worth of silver colloid. What do 
you do with it? It does whai the antibi- 
otics do, but germs can't adapt to it. 
Use it to get rid of germs on food, for 
skin fungus, warts, and even lo drink, 
Read some books on the uses of silver 
colloid, it's like magic S 1 5 (#80) 
Wayne's Bell Saver Kit The cable 
and in si ructions enabling you to in- 
expensively tape \n Bell WtSQBETs 
nightly 5-hr radio talk show. S5 (#S3> 
NH Reform Party Keynote Speech. 
It wow~d 'em when I laid out plans 
for N T H in 2020, with much better, yet 
tower-cost schools, zero state taxes, far 
belter health care, a more responsive 
state government, etc. $1 (#85) 
Stuff I didn't wr ite, but you need: 
NASA Mooned America: Rene 
makes an air-tight case that NASA 
faked the Moon landings. This book 
will convince even you, $25 (#90) 
Last Skeptic of Science: This is 
Rene's book w here he debunks a bunch 
of accepted scientific beliefs - such as 
the ice ages, the Earth being a magnet, 
ilio MiQtiS£ausin£ the tides, and etc. %2? 
(#91) 

Dark Moon: 568 pages of carefully re- 
searched proof that the Apollo Moon 
landi ngs were a hoax — a capping blow 
lor Rene's skeptic* $35 t#92) 



Box 416. Hancock NH 03449 



I 



Name 



Call 



Address 



I 

|Cify -State-Zip 

I Use ihe number* m the brackets or copy page and mark ibe books you nam Add S.I rfi per total 
•onto m US i$5 jmonl> mail h $6Cm S 1 foreign. 

|Order total: USS PfoMeiforCContaj^ 



MOV" 1 s* for onkis ostr $ tCL #_ 



Expire 



I 
I 

I 



I ww^.waynegnten.com * phone orders; 603535-4747 ■ fax; G03-58&-3205 - w2ojd&fioLooai 
■ Yes! Pin me rtowg hn i yjji uf ~j fa rol) >:> j ml I Qamfl* U8S3& faldgn ISS44 bj tea, 
□ Td tike lo get mure romance into my dreary life sn send me your 1 low-To-Dance Video* catalog. 
1 I need aonic industrial strength ttM&t rcdiK-ium |Q send me your Advenumfn In Music CD catalog 
lA Uow 4 wee k s for delivery e x cept foreign* though we try inject mo a t ord e rs ^l i mu-d liLiidaynr two. _J 

73 Amateur Radio Today • March 2001 63 



Barter 'n' Buy 



Turn your old ham and computer gear Into cash now. Sure, you can wait for a hamfest to try and dump it, but you know you'll get a far more 

realistic price if you have it out where 1 00,000 active ham potential buyers can see it, rather than the few hundred local hams who come by 

a flea market table. Check your attic r garage, cellar and closet shelves and get cash for your ham and computer gear before it's too old to 

sell. You know you're not going to use it again, so why leave ft for your widow to throw out? That stuff isn't getting any younger! 

The 73 Rea Market Barter 'n' Buy, costs you peanuts {almost}— comes to 35 cents a word for individual (noncommercial!) ads and $1 .00 

a word tor commercial ads. Don't plan on telling a long story. Use abbreviations, cram it in. But be honest. There are plenty of hams who love 

to fix things, so if it doesn't work, say so. 

Make your list, count the words h including your call, address and phone number. Include a check or your credit card number and expiration. 

If you're placing a commercEal ad, include an additional phone number, separate from your ad. 

This Is a monthly magazine, not a daily newspaper, so figure a couple months before the action starts; then be prepared, ff you get too many 

calls, you priced it low If you don't get many calls, too high. 

So get busy. Blow the dust off, check everything out, make sure it still works right and maybe you can help make a ham newcomer or retired 

old timer happy with that rig you're not using now. Or you might get busy on your computer and put together a list of small gear/parts to send 

to those interested? 

Send your ads and payment to: 73 Magazine, Barter V Buy, 70 Hancock Rd., Peterborough NH 03458 and get set for the 
phone calls* The deadline for die May 2001 classified ad section is March I0 n 200 1 . 



President Clinton probably doesn't have a copy 
of Tormet's Electronics Bench Reference but you 
should. Check it out at [www,ohio.net/~rtormet/ 
index.htm]— over 100 pages of circuits, tables, 
RF design information, sources, etc. BNB530 

TELEGRAPH COLLECTOR'S PRICE GUIDE: 
250 pictures/prices. $12 postpaid. ARTIFAX 
BOOKS, Box 88, Maynard MA 01 754. Telegraph 
Museum; [http://wltp.com]. BNB1 1 3 

Great New Reference Manual with over 100 pgs 
of P/3 S transistor, radio, op-amp, antenna designs, 
coil winding tables, etc. See details at [www.ohio. net/ 
-rtormet/index.htm] or send check or M.O. tor 
S19.95 + $2.00 P&H to RMT Engineering, 6863 
Buffham Rd.. Seville OH 44273. BNB202 

RF TRANSISTORS TUBES 2SC2879, 2SC1971 , 
2SC1972, MRF247, MRF455, MB8719. 2SC1307, 
2SC2029, MRF454, 2SC31 33.4CX25QB, 12DG6, 
6KG6A, etc. WESTGATE. 1-800- 213-4563. 

BNB6000 

QSL CARDS. Basic Styles; Black and White and 
Color Picture Cards; Custom Printed. Send 2 
stamps tor samples and literature. RAUIVPS, 8617 
Orchard Rd., Coopersburg PA 18036. Phone or 
FAX (215) 679-7238. BNB519 

Cash for Collins: Buy any Collins Equipment. 
LeoKJBHI. Tel. /FAX (310)670-6969. [radioleo® 
earthlink.net]. BNB425 

Browse our web site and check out the 
"Monthly Special." TDL Technology, Inc. www. 
zianetcom/tdl. BNB500 

MAHLON LQOmS, INVENTOR OF RADIO, by 
Thomas Appleby {copyright 1967), Second print- 
ing available from JOHAN K*V. SVANHOLM 
N3RF. SVANHOLM RESEARCH LABORATO- 
RIES, P.O. Box 81 , Washington DC 20044. Please 
send $25.00 donation with $5.00 for S&H. 

BNB420 

Ham Radio Repair, Quality workmanship. All 
Brands, Fast Service. Affordable Electronics, 
7110 E. Thomas Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Call 
480^970-0963, or E-mail HAM SERVICE® AOL 
COM. BNB427 

64 73 Amateur Radio Today * March 2001 



METHOD TO LEARN MORSE CODE FAST AND 
WITHOUT HANGUPS Johan N3RF. Send $1 .00 
& SASE. SVANHOLM RESEARCH LABORATO- 
RIES, P.O. Box 81, Washington DC 20044 USA. 

BNB421 

ASTRON power supply, brand-new w/warranty, 
RS20M $99, RS35M $145, RS50M $209, RS70M 
S249. Web: [www.aventrade.com]. Call for other 
models. (626) 286-0118, BNB411 

HEATHK1T COMPANY i s selling photocopies of 
most Heathkit manuals. Oniy authorized source 
for copyright manuals. Phone: (616) 925- 5399, 
8-4 ET BNB964 

"MORSE CODE DECIPHERED 1 ' Simple, el- 
egant, inexpensive, comprehensive, logical, easy! 
E-mail [judiind@earthlink.net]. BNB428 

Electricity, Magnetism, Gravity, The Big Bang. 
New explanation of basic forces of nature in this 91 - 

page book covering early scientific theories and ex- 
piring latest controversial conclusions on their re- 
lationship to a unified field theory. To order, send 
check or money order for $16,95 to: American Sci- 
ence Innovations, PO Box 155, Clarfngton OH 
43915. Web site for other products [http://www, 
asi_2000.com]. BNB100 

COLLOIDAL SILVER GENERATOR! Why buy a 
LL box of batteries" for hundreds of dollars? Current 
regulated, AC powered, fully assembled with #12 
AWG silver electrodes, $74.50. Same, but DC pow- 
ered, $54.50. Add S2.50 shipping. Thomas Milter, 
216 East 10th St., Ashland, OH 44805, Web ad- 
dress www.bioetectrrfier.eom. BNB342 

COLD FUSION! - FUEL CELL! - ELECTRIC BI- 
CYCLE! Each educational kit: (Basic - $99.95, De- 
luxe ■ $199.95, Information - $9.95,) CATALOG - 
S5.00. ELECTRIC AUTOMOBILE BOOK - $19.95. 
KAYLQR-KFT, POB 1550ST, Boulder Creek CA 
95006-1550. (831) 338-2300. BNB128 

ANTENNA SCIENCE: Why do antennas radiate 
electromagnetic waves? Learn for yourself from 
this enlightening paper by MAX RESEARCH. 
Gain an understanding of the radiation mecha- 
nism of antennas! Written in a clear style for radio 
hobbyists, inquisitive amateurs and experimenters. 
$4.95 ... ppd. Order from MAX RESEARCH, P.O. 



Box 1306, Fast North port NY 11731. 



BNB426 



ROHN TOWERS HUGE DISCOUNTS CHECK 
PRICES AT HILLRADIO.NET BNB600 

K8CX HAM GALLERY http://hamgallery.com 

BNB620 

TOWER for Sale. 100-ft. MILITARY AB-105C. 
Heavy-duty galvanizing. Dismantled, includes guy 
wire : screw anchors, new bolts, excellent condi- 
tion. Jim W9GLR: 51 65 Island View Circle South, 
Polk City, Fl. 33868-8901. jimw9glr@juno.com 
(B63)-984-1317. BI\iB630 

Wanted: Manual or copy for 14AVQ/WBS Hy-gain 
antenna. Bob n 35 Clarence St., Belleville, Ml 

48111, K8HHP@Yahoo.Com. 

New miniature oscillator modules are now avafl- 
able .„ all under $20 ... plus our great reference 
book is still for sale. Write to RMT Engineering, 
6863 Buffham Road, Seville, OH 44273 or see 
our Web site at www.ohio.netf-rtormet/ 
index.htm. 



NEUER SflV DIE 

continued from page 62 

Todays leaders in science and tech- 
nology are people who haven't been 
dumbed down by our American public 
schools and colleges. 

When New Hampshire was awash in 
presidential hopefuls, all claiming they're 
going to improve American schools, it's 
interesting that not one of ihem offered any 
actual proposals for doing this. Of course, 
they don't dare; otherwise, they'd have the 
teachers' unions lighting them, while gen- 
erously funding their competitors. 

Is the situation hopeless'? Hey, that's up 
to you! I've explained bow you can help 
solve this misery, but I can't seem to set 
your attention. 




I 



FIELD 



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Ham Radio in the Great Outdoor 
It's the Best with Yaesu's FT-817! 



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• WtDE FREQUENCY COVERAGE: 160-10 meters on HF, plus the SO, 144, and 

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•WIDE CHOICE OF POWER SOURCES: The FT-817 is equipped with an 

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•TWO ANTENNA PORTS: A BNC connector is provided on the from panel, 

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•OPTIONAL 10-POLE COLLINS- MECHANICAL FILTERS: An optional filter 

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•INCREDIBLE MEMORY RESOURCES:You get a total of 208 memories, 

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ports, RS-232 terminal and the world's first HF fully backlighted front control panel. 

The TS-2000 multi-band multi-mode transceiver, the highest performance Amateur Radio ever produced. Available now. 



KENWOOD 

COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION 



AMATEUR RADIO PRODUCTS GROUP 

3975 Johns Gneefc Court. Suwanee, GA 30024 

RO Box 22745, Long Beach, CA 90801-5745, US A 

Customer Support: 010)639-5303 Fax: 010)537-5235 

QtARO-7057 1011401 




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